The Dunning Kruger Effect: Why Your Coworkers Believe They're Way Smarter Than They Actually Are


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If you’ve ever been a manager, you know how frustrating the Dunning Kruger effect can be.

Let’s say you work at a software company, and you need to give Karen, your newest software developer, a performance review. Karen’s exceptionally good at developing code, but she lacks a few critical programming skills. That’s okay -- you recognized this skill gap before hiring her, and set up training sessions for this reason.Click here to download our free introductory ebook on marketing psychology.

But when you mention Karen’s programming skill gap to her, her reaction baffles you: “What are you talking about? I’m exceptionally skilled at programming. I don’t need training -- in fact, I’m one of the best programmers on your team.”

You’re surprised. Not only is Karen unable to recognize her weakness, but she overestimates her skill in comparison to others, believing herself to be better than some of your best developers. Her lack of knowledge on the subject makes her unable to see her own errors -- this is known as the Dunning Kruger effect.

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