In 1999, psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger wrote a paper describing an interesting cognitive phenomenon, the eponymous 'Dunning-Kruger effect'. It's a bias, whereby people judge themselves to be better than others in all types of areas, such as leadership, skill level or performance.
Sequel studies backed up the hypothesis that "…people, at all performance levels, are equally poor at estimating their relative performance".
This goes equally for men and women - although studies would suggest that men tend to overestimate their own abilities and performance, due to the 'confidence gap', whereas women are held back by a lack of faith in their abilities (among other factors) and work below their competence level.
The opportunity is there for each of us to bridge the gap between our unreliable self-assessment and external measures of our performance. Here's how.
Ask for feedback regularly
Regular input on your performance helps you to get a clear picture of how you're doing. Far from being a sign of weakness, research from the Neuroleadership Institute reveals that those who actively seek feedback are typically high performers.
Deliberately ask for feedback from people where you have more challenging relationships. It's too easy and too comfortable to defer to longstanding colleagues and work friends when seeking input on your performance. Instead, select one or two people where the relationship hasn't been plain sailing.
Create the space to listen, hear, and absorb the information. Resist the temptation to discount what you hear.
Ask for help
Be open about your gaps and ask for help to keep you honest. Revealing your shortcomings can be very productive in working relationships. Saying: "This is an area I'm working on, and I'd value your help" is a straightforward way to access the expertise of others, and to demonstrate how committed you are to your development.
Measure and recognise improvement
Having set yourself development goals, use the feedback you receive to help you track your progress. Celebrate your successes. And when you achieve your goals, ask: 'What next?". After all, none of us is the finished product.
Reflect on what you've done, and ask yourself: "How could I have done this even better?". Search out courses online or in the classroom, seminars, conferences - share your learning with your colleagues and discuss where and how it can benefit your business. Finally, read. We have so much information available to us via websites and books.
Take the opportunity now to be an even better you - closing the gap between what you think about your performance, and the reality.
Sponsored post. Copyright © 2018 Ally Yates, author of 'Utter Confidence: How what you say and do influences your effectiveness in business'.