We constantly hear that we need to have more confidence, but can we have too much? Regardless of the context, whether sport, religion, politics or finance – those who are overconfident believe they are better than they really are. Research shows that overconfidence impairs judgement and causes people to make uninformed decisions. For this reason, it is good to develop the proper Mediation Skills to deal with overconfidence issues.
Music Tapping Study
A “music tapping” study was undertaken by Elizabeth Newton in 1990. Participants had to tap out the rhythm of a song. They then estimated how likely the listener was to guess the song. Tappers estimated that 50% of listeners would guess, but they were wrong. Only 3% guessed the song. The tappers assumed that what was obvious to them would be obvious to listeners as well. They were overconfident because of this assumption.
The Pitfalls of Overconfidence
Overconfident people take risks because they overestimate their abilities. An example of overconfidence is when Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Russia. He was overconfident because he believed he could beat the Russian army, but he did not take the severe cold into account. Overconfident leaders often suffer the consequences of their bad decisions.
Overconfidence also influences the ability to send and receive clear signals which create communication gaps. In relationships, it is easy to believe that a message is being received when it is not. This is particularly true in conflict situations where assumptions are made that create problems.
People who are overconfident tend to make decisions without discussing matters with other informed people whose opinions may differ from theirs. They are so sure of themselves that they tend to think others are less intelligent than them. They are so unaware of their own shortcomings that they take action without assessing situations from every angle and listening to the considered opinions of others.
How can you avoid overconfidence?
Overconfidence is measured by scientists in terms of judgement accuracy when estimating a range of outcomes. When making judgements, it’s important to seek out other perspectives, be humble and realize that mistakes are likely. You need to stop to consider if there are reasons why you could be wrong. If you do this, your overconfidence will be checked.
What if, when communicating, you made sure that others really understood what you were saying? This would prevent you from a tendency to interpret signals in a way that confirmed your beliefs. You would subconsciously miss information that contradicted them.
In relationships, we often respond in conversations without even allowing the other person to complete a sentence. We assume that we know exactly what they are going to say. Communication misunderstandings are common because of this tendency. Problems with communication due to overconfidence can affect every area of life, from going for a job interview to safety in the workplace.
The right mediation skills are a more in depth way to help deal with overconfidence that leads to communication misunderstandings. A mediator can point out where gaps exist and make sure both parties fully understand one another.
Edwards Mediation Academy trains mediators using practical instruction and online interactive teaching. Trained mediators understand that they have to remain neutral and engage both parties in productive conversation, slowly decreasing their differences of opinion and making sure they communicate properly.