Earlier today we distributed our latest audio blog, SoundWaves, on the topic of illusory superiority. And in the three hours since we distributed, we’ve heard from many clients and friends on the topic with some additional thoughts. The basic concept is that we tend to see ourselves in the best possible light, and we tend to minimize the impact of our negative qualities. This lack of self-awareness gets in the way of real self-improvement. Self-improvement requires honesty, at a minimum.
Does this concept extend further beyond the self? Of course if does. It applies to teams and organizations as much as it applies to individuals. Groups of people can develop an sense of illusory superiority quite easily. “Group think” can cause the group to think of itself as better, smarter, more well intentioned, more successful than it really is.
How does a person or a group move beyond illusory superiority? It starts with a legitimate desire to improve, and legitimate willingness to hear or learn of the honest-to-god truth. And then once that legitimate desire is in place, it requires asking direct questions of people whose opinion you value and trust.
Do you or your team or your organization interact and leave impressions the way you think you do? Are you sure? If you have the courage to ask the question, and listen to the answers, then you have a chance to move beyond illusory superiority.
I’ll connect this idea to another one we use at TLG all the time… fingerprints. These are the impressions that you or your team or organization leave on their interactions with others. Do you leave the fingerprints that you think you do? Are you sure?
Have a great day.
At The Latimer Group, we believe that successful teams are built on honesty, open communication,and collaboration. For more on team building and team communication, look for Dean Brenner’s new book, Sharing the Sandbox: Building and Leading Great Teams in the 21st Century, coming in May 2012.