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Do Managers overestimate their impact?

How often do you see someone proudly share their achievements, only to think that the work was completed by a team?

It seems easy to bask in the reflected glory of group performance.  It is often expected, especially as ownership often inferred.  Leading us to claim success for the work done by our team.

But how impactful are we as managers?

Most managers work extremely hard, however as Phillip Coggan of the Economist reflected, it is incredibly hard to measure managers.   That the work of the manager has shifted significantly from Command and control to Being a Coach as a part of a shift to a service economy from manufacturing.  Using jargon shows our expertise and business through meetings are seen as a badge of honour. 

To be fair our wellbeing at work is closely linked to those that we report to.  Sometimes these relationships are instrumental for personal success.  If our focus is to unlock performance, there can be considerable impact.

However, what if it is primarily reporting…?

Usually though someone to assist the team to their importance in the overall plan, together with navigation of the internal communication and steps towards continuous improvements.

On the flip side, perhaps it is related to the Dunning-Kruger effect, e.g. 88% of American drivers consider themselves to be above average.  Those with the least ability tend to overestimate their expertise the most.  We all have areas where we lack knowledge and skill, which tends to make us think like Jeremy Clarkson “how hard can it be?”

Conversely, people with moderate expertise, tend to be less confident of themselves.   When we are exceptional at something, we don’t tend to realise without getting feedback from others.

It’s surprising how often feedback is nonexistent or ambiguous. It’s a pretty safe assumption that what people say to our face is more positive than what they’re saying behind our backs.

With thanks to David Dunning.

Photo credit Jeffrey Grospe on Unsplash



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