YES FROM EXPERTS IN THE FIELD
NO FROM EXPERTS IN THE FIELD
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WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Is too much con;dence
a bad thing?
Chatterjee is a
marketing professor at Binghamton
in New York. He
Lori K. Long
is a professor in the
school of business
at Baldwin Wallace
University in Berea,
Ohio, and is a
faculty fellow in the
Center for Innovation & Growth.
CONFIDENCE IS GREAT, but overconfidence can be very bad or even dangerous.
For many generations, a value was placed on the process through which we
would seek answers to better understand the things we saw, heard or read in our
daily lives. In the age of instant information, this process has given way to the
expectation and the misplaced confidence that we already know the answers.
“I’ve got this,” we may say, when we’re really just guessing.
As we learn and encounter new information and knowledge, it is natural to
gain confidence about what we know and to develop a more accurate sense of
what may be true. Confidence cannot be divorced from knowledge—and therein
lies the problem.
Our knowledge (and confidence) comes in two ways: instinctively or
intuitively, with little thought; or deliberately, with reason and thinking.
Unfortunately, we turn first to our instincts for an answer, and if our instincts
seem reasonable enough we have great confidence in our answers, even if wrong.
Once we have confidence that our answer is right, we stop collecting data,
stop reading about the issue or only seek out information that supports our conclusions. Academics call this the confidence bias, the consistency bias or the
jumping-to-a-conclusion bias, and the terrible thing is that we humans are very
resistant to correction when others point out that we are wrong.
Too much confidence makes us very narrow-minded. It tells us that we are
right and others are wrong, when it may in fact be the other way around.
There was once a stigma attached to making decisions based on misunderstanding, confusion and superficial knowledge of a topic. Today, it seems OK for
anyone writing a blog or posting a tweet to consider themselves an expert. That’s
because it has become easier and more acceptable to simply look at the surface,
as long as it is done with confidence.
This socially acceptable overconfidence means that many doors to new information—and to better understanding—will remain unopened. C
AN OVERWHELMING BODY of research reveals the crucial role that confidence
plays in advancing the belief that we can do something, and supports the theory
that a strong sense of confidence can function as a formula for self-efficacy.
While the concept of confidence hasn’t changed, our need to communicate
our confidence has evolved in recent years. Social media has put our opinions
and our ability to confidently express who we are and what we know on broad
display for all to see.
Online, and especially in person, real confidence is a very powerful thing. It
is based on accurate self-awareness and self-reflection that reveal what we know
and what we know we can do. There can be a fine line that we can slip over into
overconfidence or arrogance, which is how our confidence is perceived by others
around us. In those cases, it’s not about having too much confidence; it’s about
not really understanding ourselves—our abilities and limitations—well enough.
The ability to collaborate is an increasingly valuable skill in today’s learning
environments, workplaces, civic groups, parent organizations and anywhere else
people come together with goals to accomplish. This skill is based not just on our
ability to be confident, but on how we demonstrate that confidence.
Never has it been more important to be able to positively influence others.
Having plenty of real confidence helps us do this effectively. However, when we
allow ourselves to move beyond real confidence and demonstrate what others
around us may view as arrogance, it can become hard or even impossible to assert
any level of influence.
Highly confident people possess the self-awareness that keeps them from
slipping into arrogance, real or perceived. They know what they can handle,
understand their shortcomings and know when to ask for help. They continue
to build their abilities as they grow their confidence accordingly, and they do not
hesitate to use their confidence to reach out and surround themselves with others
who can step in to fill in the gaps, when necessary. C
Should bosses and
employees friend each
other on Facebook?
Percentage re;ects votes received
by December 14, 2017.
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