Confidence vs competence: can you spot the difference?

Confidence vs competence: can you spot the difference?

We’re not as good at judging talent as we think. According to Dr Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, we mistake confidence for competence – or in his words, how smart you think someone is versus how smart they actually are.

Last week, we welcomed Dr Chamorro-Premuzic to the Mind Gym’s book club to share an overview of his thinking, specifically related to his latest book, ‘The Talent Delusion’. Born in Buenos Aires, he’s an international leader in psychological profiling and talent management with 8 published books, 120 scientific papers and 70 television appearances to his name. He’s also CEO of Hogan Assessment Systems – who apply the science of personality to organisational success.

In ‘The Talent Delusion’ he claims intuition is the number one enemy of talent management, counter to current thinking which encourages us to trust our innate wisdom. Instead, Tomas believes the future of talent management ought to be driven by science. His research shows that we can now pull 18 million data points from a 20 minute video of a job interview with more accuracy than if we just made inferences.

So what do high potentials look like? Tomas’ theory is that they have three universal ingredients: ability, drive and likeability. Put simply, they’re capable, ambitious and not obnoxious.

According to Tomas, we all have a dark side. Once we’re aware of ours, we can actively inhibit these behaviours, despite being unable to remove them completely. For example, if you’re inclined to cynicism, you need to learn how to hide or sideline that tendency at work – in contrast to “bring your whole self to work” advice. He suggests the best leaders ensure their people don’t catch a glimpse of their dark side.

Tomas introduced the idea of a ‘portable talent passport’, where the full extent of our data summarises our talent and potential. This provoked substantial debate during the Q&A session – raising questions about the ethical challenges and the effect on individuals whose every action could reflect on their employment potential. If data is used to measure our talent, will we focus solely on a restricted set of data to the exclusion of other goals?

Tomas’ latest book is available here.

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