DR. E. CAROL WEBSTER’S
E. Carol Webster, Ph.D.
Original Copyright © 2008
Managers spend a lot of time worrying about low performers and motivating staff to excel. This is important, but may cause you to underestimate the types of problems created by overconfident employees. The high self-confidence that propels them can hinder them too, so they also need your attention. These folks have plenty of egos for themselves and everybody else, and this may mislead you into believing they have everything under control. Indeed, they usually are energetic and hardworking in pursuit of the company mission. Typically, you don’t have to worry about whether they’re on time for work or look over their shoulder to see if they’re on task. Most show initiative and take the lead on things easily, tending not to get hung up on the types of fears and constraints that keep those with low confidence from making decisions and taking action. But particularly when stressed, the overconfident can go too far — causing you to have to jump in to fix their overestimates contentious run ins with colleagues and clients, and other problems. They need supervision and coaching too, so look out for the following:
These individuals don’t need a broad safety net and can make tough decisions even when the absolute success of the outcome is not assured. When they are on their game, they are typically correct in their judgments and experience more successes than failures. But like everything else, too much of a good thing can become a problem and some folks are long on ego and short on substance. They like challenges and the thrill of the unknown, generally believing that their chances of failing are small. This empowers them to take risks that others would avoid, sometimes with inadequate care about how their actions will impact them – and you.
Because the thrill is in the action, your overconfident staff may feel bored by excruciating details and the analysis that might be necessary to avoid problems. Grandiosity tells them that those facts and figures don’t pertain to them because, in their view, they are relying on special talents, abilities, or other assets that their colleagues don’t have. Some may actually cut lots of corners and avoid the sweat necessary to attain a goal while managing to look very busy and absorbed. Thus, upon closer examination, you may find their planning to be lacking — resulting in half-baked ideas at times and results that don’t meet expectations.
Overconfident folks are eternal optimists and doggedly believe that their dreams are realizable. They are convinced that the plans they set in motion are going to work out. This drives them to remain persistent when others would have given up long ago. They don’t easily feel defeated and don’t like being around people who might cause them to feel this way. They are prone to oust critics from their success entourage because these advisors point out flaws in their logic or identify potential problems, bringing them down to earth and causing them to keep their feet on the ground. This makes them feel too “ordinary”, so they push these people away and “put them in their place” by becoming condescending and berating. With critical feedback out of the way, the overconfident may throw more time, effort, and resources than is warranted into flagging projects — a reality their managers might not fully grasp until there is a crisis and they have to get involved to clean up the mess or do damage control.
Confident employees are a pleasure, but those who are too full of themselves can make decisions and take actions that result in serious negative consequences for a company, not to mention for their own career. Many crash and burn. Their feelings of invincibility cause them to ignore the warning signs that guide others. So take time to provide coaching to help temper their grandiosity and adequate supervision and training to help them learn when and how to make course adjustments when their original ideas and plans are not working out. This will help them attain a truly grand level of success!
About the Author:
Dr. E. Carol Webster is a clinical psychologist consultant in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
She is author of the book for those dealing with the stress of success ―
Success Management: How to Get to the Top and Keep Your Sanity Once You Get There,
The Fear of Success: Stop It From Stopping You! ―
the book to help you overcome fears that may be holding you back in your life and career
The Private Practice of Clinical Psychology in: Voices of Historical & Contemporary Black American Pioneers
To contact Dr. Webster visit online at http://drcarolwebster.com or call 954.797.9766.
E. Carol Webster, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychology Consulting
Mailing Address: 7027 West Broward Boulevard, #262 Fort Lauderdale, FL 33317
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