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Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Delusion, Denial and Ego - there's a name for that..

...and it's called the Dunning Kruger effect...

In 1999, David Dunning and Justin Kruger of Cornell University published their findings regarding people's awareness of their own abilities...
Apparently, the study was inspired by the case of a Bank Robber who had smeared his face with lemon juice in the mistaken hope that, as lemon was used as invisible ink, his face would be invisible to the security cameras - unsurprisingly, he was caught...

The condition suggests that there is a cognitive bias causing unskilled individuals to suffer from illusory superiority; in other words, although they are no good at something, they truly believe they are...
Conversely, individuals with a high level of skill were found to underestimate their relative competence and assumed that tasks they find "easy" are also easy for others...
As they concluded..
The miscalibration of the incompetent stems from an error about self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from errors about others...

How does the condition show up...?

In a social setting the condition is relatively harmless, check out this VIDEO of auditions on the X Factor to see some great examples of illusory superiority...
Up the scale a little and the more dangerous aspects can be experienced, driving for example; the condition is made considerably worse when alcohol is consumed...
We can call it denial, delusion and ego; but where the very best examples of the Kruger Dunning effect shows up is in the workplace...
In essence it's having the ability to Talk the Talk but also Walk the Walk - in fact those with real skills and talent don't Talk the Talk because they really don't think that they are special at all...

Picture Credit - www.eternol.com
Those with real talent tend to underestimate their abilities, whilst those without, tend to overestimate them; paradoxically, people at the top of their game are more open to feedback, continued learning and development than those at the bottom...
As observed by Bertrand Russell..
One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision...
And even William Shakespeare in "As You Like It..."
The Foole doth thinke he is wise, but the wiseman knowes himselfe to be a Foole...
So the attitudes and behaviours of those suffering from the Dunning Kruger effect will include...
  • Misplaced confidence in their abilities - delusional...

  • Inability to take feedback - they are always right...

  • Focus on them rather than results -

  • High self esteem - but low performance standards...

  • Avoiding responsibility for results - blaming others...

  • Short term career moves - until they get found out...

They could of course simply get promoted to the Board Room where they can do less damage...
So, watch out for the symptoms of the Denning Kruger effect - there may be more of it around than your realise...

About David Holland

I work with Business Owners, Executives and their Teams to:
✔ Make more Money in their Business...
✔ Build Effective and Productive Teams...
✔ Work Less Hours and enjoy the Journey...
✔ Grow Sales, Profit and Cash...
✔ Achieve more than they think is possible...
To find out more about how I can help you, send me a connection request on LinkedIn, or send me a message if we are already connected
To find out about our Events and Workshops in Luxembourg and the UK, click on the LINK..

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