- Illusory superiority is a common condition where a person overestimates their own qualities and abilities in comparison to other people.
- Managers who suffer from illusory superiority find it hard to relate well with others.
- They are not able to attract and retain talents in an organisation because they look down upon them and make working environment harsh for them.
Illusory superiority is a common condition where a person overestimates their own qualities and abilities in comparison to other people.
Ask some people and they will tell you their products are much better than their competitors; they are better strategists; better employers; better managers and so on compared to their peers.
If you asked them why they are not where they would like to be they will come up with all manner of excuses – lack of capital, bad business environment, economic sabotage, bad lack and hordes of others.
However, a keen look at those people you realise they are actually below average or amateurs compared to their peer.
Managers who suffer from illusory superiority find it hard to relate well with others. They are not able to attract and retain talents in an organisation because they look down upon them and make working environment harsh for them.
The biggest undoing of illusory superiority, which most of us are victims of, is that it blocks change and improvement. You will hardly change or improve if you believe you are the best manager or best worker who is hindered by certain obstacles. You will tend to focus on those obstacles instead of addressing your own weaknesses which are the real reason for your failure or dismal performance.
It is said if you continue doing the same thing you will get the same results you have been getting. Thus if you want different results you must do what you do differently. But change is also disruptive and requires high level of self-discipline.
It takes courage and discipline to remove the veil of illusory superiority and take a hard look at yourself, your business and your way of doing things. You can then see your weaknesses and strength in the right perspective and identify which interventions are necessary to achieve the level of achievement you desire.
Evaluate how in-touch are you with you customers, the operations of the business, market and industrial trends in order to make informed decisions.
Critically evaluate how much you know about your industry and competitors including disruptive technologies that is changing the world and could easily edge you out of business.
It is only after you have done unbiased self-evaluation and known your weaknesses that you can embark on a journey of improvement through training and change of mindset.
Just as many accidents on our roads are caused by drivers who overestimate their driving prowess, most businesses are wrecked by managers or owners who think they know more than anyone one else.
Such business leaders believe they know more about marketing, product development and how to treat customers better than their employees and other stake holders. Consequently, employees are expected to take orders and obey without questioning.
The best way to handle illusory superiority condition is to believe you are a victim right now until proven otherwise. This will humble you in a way that you will consider opinion and suggestions of others without passing judgement or looking down upon them regardless of their position.
Mr Kiunga is author of ‘The Art of Entrepreneurship: Strategies to Succeed in a Competitive Market’.