Saturday, September 29, 2012

Characteristics of Over Confident People (link at bottom)

We have all heard the studies that suggest over-confident people are generally less competent than those who tend to be more modest (and less confident) in their evaluation of their abilities (Dunning Kruger effect). 

As someone who is reminded on a daily basis from co-workers, bosses etc who know me personally that I “need to exhibit more confidence and pride” I’ve always wondered, what exactly are those specific qualities that over-confident people exude? What kinds of behaviors and actions do these individuals display that give them an edge? Yes, according to the article, over-confident people are socially rewarded for simply being over-confident.  This is not to suggest that problems do not arise from our human tendency to elect the over-confident (possibly less competent) individual over the less-popular (likely more competent) individual.

It appears that over-confident individuals tend to exhibit the following:

“…videos revealed that overconfident individuals spoke more often, spoke with a confident vocal tone, provided more information and answers, and acted calmly and relaxed as they worked with their peers. In fact, overconfident individuals were more convincing in their displays of ability than individuals who were actually highly competent.

 I guess this means we should never allow someone’s convincing display or “presentation” (smooth talk free of glitches and a “calm relaxed” way of handling oneself) trick us into thinking that they are automatically more capable or qualified (according to the studies, they are usually LESS competent).
One more fact discovered: Surprisingly, overconfident people were the most socially admired; these individuals were NOT thought of as narcissistic but instead, “beloved”.


  1. Interesting study, but I couldn't help noticing that their experimental sample was drawn from MBA students. In my experience, they're an overconfident bunch to begin with, and much more likely than most to admire confidence in others. I'll try to remember to grab the paper when it comes out, but I'm prepared to be unimpressed. In fact, I suspect the authors are a bit overconfident about their conclusions. ;)

    As to what your co-workers tell you, just be yourself, and be comfortable in your own skin. Life's much easier and enjoyable that way. :)

  2. For years, I always wondered why those who were the brightest weren't always admired or didn't get ahead in their careers the way others did, one realises very quickly that it's all about social appearance and how much confidence you exude, which is why sociopaths & narcissists with high IQ's will usually make it up to board of large corporations.

    I read about the dunning-kruger effect awhile back, reading about it reminded me of Bertrand Russell's quote:

    What it mostly comes down to is the ability of these people to:
    1. Inspire others (if they are genuine)
    2. Deceive (if they are not genuine)

    To generalise: Those who are the brightest don't always make the best leaders/managers, because leaders/managers are people with social influence, which many very bright people tend to lack.

  3. Humility is an admirable trait, though it may cause one to appear less confident. Hubris on the other hand will eventually reveal itself to be inept. Your cool just the way you are Renee!

    1. Thanks Drew! I will attempt to stay this way. Thanks for reading :)

  4. You know, I have something of a problem with confidence, and it does inhibit my getting ahead, but to me it's all good. Why sit on the throne and be a lightning rod for everyone's problems when you can be the power behind it? I've always had fun making these narcissistic jackasses dance on my strings. MUAH-HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

    (Then again, I could just be overconfident in my abilities as a puppetmaster. :P)

    But I will voice my approval at your (apparent) lack of confidence. Usually the first thing a "confident" person involved with social media wants to do is form a cult of personality and demand that everyone hang on his or her every word dogmatically while they pull slogans out of their fanny. Your videos are worth watching precisely because you AREN'T like that.

    1. Thank you very much for kindness.:)