How would you rate your driving skills? In a US study, 93% of respondents rated themselves as above average drivers. In a further survey, 36% of drivers believed they were an above-average driver while texting.
It’s a phenomenon called illusory superiority, which is a cognitive bias that causes people to overestimate their positive abilities relative to others.
Dr Peter Fuda found a similar gap in how leaders judge themselves by their intentions and everyone else by their actions. He says, “I’ve never met a leader who aspires to destroy shareholder value, irritate customers and alienate staff. Yet we almost always find a significant gap between a leader’s intention and their actual impact.”
A great place to look is the gap between our capacity to honour our own commitments and what we expect of those around us? As game-changing leaders we are always making big commitments. We can only succeed if others do the same.
However, if we are not honouring the small commitments we make along the path to our game-changing objective, then our impact will be reduced. It does not matter how well intentioned we are.
It is so refreshing to work with people who honour their commitments. I love working with Connie for that reason. She manages website updates for me. She always gives a date by when she will complete a task and consistently gets it done before the deadline. On the rare occasions when she cannot deliver on her promise, she will let you know as soon as she can and will renegotiate a new date. It is such a contrast to wasting time and energy listening to stories equivalent to “the goat ate my homework!”
If we want more people like that around us then we need to close the gap between how we see ourselves and how others see us. Otherwise we are like an overweight person giving advice about how to lose weight. While it may be valid and well meaning, it lacks authenticity.
One way to close the gap is to ask your key stakeholders, do I honour my commitments?
Best regards, Brian
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