We know less than we think

There is a scourge that is affecting America, one where men and women with little to show in the way of results somehow think they are better qualified and more capable than others, particularly those in positions of leadership. This phenomenon has a name; it’s called the Dunning-Kruger effect, named after the two researchers at Cornell who came up with the hypothesis.

Another similar effect is illusory superiority, a cognitive bias that causes people to overestimate their positive qualities and abilities and to underestimate their negative qualities, relative to others. We are all guilty of this from time to time. Where it becomes problematic is when it seriously impairs people’s ability to think critically and see events through a realistic lens, framed by perspective and self-awareness of this bias. Continue reading

Leading by example

Leadership is a subject that I’ve had an ongoing fascination with, probably for the last decade, if not longer. My interest in what characterizes effective leadership was born from a place where there weren’t abundant models of leadership available, at least based upon what my minimalist expectations were in leaders in the workplace at the time.

At that point in my career, I was employed by a well-known insurer, an industry leader. This company regularly received recognition as one of the best places in Maine to work, year after year. That surprised me because my 3+ years there were not a pleasant stretch. The best thing I can say about my time with this employer is that it provided me with the push to begin developing my craft as a writer, searching for books about self-improvement and personal growth, and launching me forward on the journey that I’ve been on for the past decade. So I’m grateful for the prompt they provided me in developing a new approach, and helping me begin figuring out what I was good at, instead of continuing my procession from one mediocre employer to another. Continue reading