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Wally Bock

This all seems related to the phenomenon that it's the top performers who show up for extra training and development, not the people who need it most.

Carol Murchie

Frankly, the great Yogi Berra (my favorite philosopher) reportedly said it best: "Some people, if they don't already know, you can't tell 'em."

I work with someone who actually tries a sort of reverse psychology on himself, call it a pre-emptive strike: "I know I am not a good manager..." I want to say, when are you going to work on getting better? Then I hear Yogi in my ear.

I am working in a religious nonprofit that is a management and efficiency nightmare, so I am grateful to escape to this blog and find respite, at least until I can find a real refuge where I will be welcome to use my mind.

working girl

Uh oh, does this mean if you think you're pretty good you're doomed to be bad?


" poor performers simply do not know -- indeed cannot know -- how badly they are performing"

This can explain why organizations that need to reform have such hard time doing it. If you don't have the awareness, especially in management, you will for sure not have the skills to make the change happen.



Are you aware of any studies that explore whether overconfidence in abilities results from perceived or actual status in an organizational hierarchy? Particularly where the ability in question is irrelevant or peripheral to promotion.

Richard I. Garber

There is a newer, long, follow-up article by Joyce Ehrlinger et al that you can read or download free on “Why the Unskilled Are Unaware: Further Explorations of (Absent) Self-Insight Among the Incompetent.” See: or download it at:

You might also call overestimating the Lake Wobegon Effect after the mythical town on A Prairie Home Companion where "all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average."


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