如何抵御过度自信的诱惑
How to Resist the Lure of Overconfidence
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2019-08-11 21:39
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火星译客

Confidence is arguably one of the most highly rated leadership virtues. But too much of it can be catastrophic, particularly when it comes to judgment and decision-making. Research has found that overconfident leaders can have a negative impact on organizational performance, leading to everything from introducing risky products that are unlikely to be successful to poor decisions about mergers and acquisitions. The foremost thought leader in decision-making, Daniel Kahneman, singles out overconfidence as the bias he would eliminate if he "had a magic wand."

自信可以说是最受推崇的领导美德之一。但过多的压力可能是灾难性的,尤其是在判断和决策方面。研究发现,过于自信的领导者会对组织绩效产生负面影响,从引入不太可能成功的高风险产品,到糟糕的并购决策,不一而足。决策过程中最重要的思想领袖丹尼尔·卡尼曼(Daniel Kahneman)指出,过度自信是一种偏见,如果他“有一根魔杖”,他就会消除这种偏见。

Despite these findings, overconfident people attain higher social status and are viewed as more competent, allowing them to reap the reputational benefits. "Confidence makes individuals appear more competent in the eyes of others, even when that confidence is unjustified and unwarranted," says Cameron Anderson from the Haas School of Management at the University of California, Berkeley. Overconfidence undeniably wields a great deal of influence.

尽管有这些发现,过度自信的人获得了更高的社会地位,被认为更有能力,这让他们获得了声誉上的好处。加州大学伯克利分校哈斯管理学院的卡梅隆·安德森说:“自信使个人在他人眼中显得更有能力,即使这种自信是不合理的。”不可否认,过度自信会产生很大的影响。

The question is, Why? According to psychologist and author, Maria Konnikova, "Human beings don't like to exist in a state of uncertainty and ambiguity." Confident people give off an air of assurance and certitude and are perceived as being competent which makes us an easy target to influence. In fact, emerging research has identified a particular area in the brain that responds to confidence, the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), an area involved in emotional regulation.

问题是,为什么?心理学家、作家玛丽亚·科尼科娃(Maria Konnikova)说:“人类不喜欢生活在不确定和模棱两可的状态中。”自信的人散发出一种自信和确信的气氛,被认为是有能力的人,这使我们很容易成为受影响的目标。事实上,新兴的研究已经确定了大脑中对自信做出反应的一个特殊区域,腹内侧前额叶皮层(vmPFC),这是一个涉及情绪调节的区域。

Types of Overconfidence

过度自信的类型

Overconfidence can come in many forms, the three most common being overestimation, overplacement, and overprecision. Overestimation is believing that you are better than you actually are. Overconfident people erroneously believe that they are more effective than they actually are. This is seen from the boardroom to the golf course, where CEOs overestimate their ability to generate returns, and golfers of all levels who believe they will be able to hit the ball farther than they actually do. Paradoxically, people tend to overestimate their performance on tasks that are hard and underestimate their performance on easy tasks, known as the hard-easy effect.

过度自信有多种形式,其中最常见的三种是过度估计、过高定位和过度精确。高估是相信自己比实际更好。过度自信的人错误地认为自己比实际更有效率。从董事会会议室到高尔夫球场,首席执行官们都高估了自己创造回报的能力,各级别的高尔夫球手都相信自己能够打出比实际更远的球。矛盾的是,人们倾向于高估他们在困难任务上的表现,而低估他们在简单任务上的表现,这就是所谓的“难易效应”。

Taking it one step further, overplacement is the belief that you are better than others—more talented, smarter, less biased, more competent, even better drivers—even though you may not be. Overprecision is believing with complete certainty the accuracy of your judgments. This is the most ro­­­bust form of overconfidence with a wide reach: it is seen across cultures, professions, genders, ages and levels of expertise.

更进一步说,过高定位是相信自己比别人更优秀——更有才华,更聪明,更少偏见,更有能力,甚至开车更好——即使你可能不是。过度精确是完全确信你的判断是正确的。这是过度自信最具破坏性的表现形式,影响范围很广:它跨越文化、职业、性别、年龄和专业水平。

Beware of Overconfidence in Others

当心别人的过度自信

If we are emotionally, mentally and biologically attuned to respond to confidence, exercising caution is important when we encounter people with too much of it. To take caution, you can:

如果我们在情感上、心理上和生理上都能对自信做出反应,那么当我们遇到过度自信的人时,保持谨慎是很重要的。要小心,你可以:

1) Determine whether the person has actual expertise and competence.

1)确定这个人是否具有实际的专业知识和能力。

Our brains are hardwired to look for shortcuts, which sends us off looking for proxies that are indicative of expertise. Bryan Bonner, professor of management at the University of Utah, warns us to be aware of proxies of expertise, singling out confidence as a "messy proxy" for expertise. We mistakenly associate confident behavior with competence and ability. Examples include erect posture, eye contact, and speaking style, including intonation, speed and frequency.

我们的大脑天生就会寻找捷径,这让我们去寻找那些代表专业知识的代理。犹他大学(University of Utah)管理学教授布莱恩•邦纳(Bryan Bonner)警告我们要警惕专业技能的代理人,他指出,信心是专业技能的“混乱代言人”。我们错误地将自信行为与能力联系在一起。例子包括直立姿势,眼神交流,说话风格,包括语调,速度和频率。

Instead of relying on proxies, determine whether the person has actual expertise and competence. This can be determined by a number of factors (i.e. experience, training, education, and so on), with the most compelling being a strong record of consistent results. As the research shows, although even overconfident experts can be wrong, in most cases they have a higher chance of getting it right compared with those who lack expertise.

与其依赖代理,不如确定这个人是否具有实际的专业知识和能力。这可以由许多因素决定(例如经验、培训、教育等等),其中最引人注目的是一致结果的良好记录。研究表明,尽管过于自信的专家也可能是错误的,但在大多数情况下,他们比那些缺乏专业知识的人更有可能做对。

2) Look for intellectual humility.

2)寻求智力上的谦逊。

People with intellectual humility are open to being wrong, consider other perspectives, and are willing to change their minds. "Leaders with intellectual humility are able to transcend the temptation to doggedly defend their own ideas," says Bradley Owens, professor of ethics at Brigham Young University, "They are willing to sacrifice some of their power and even reputation to ensure the right outcome." A lack of intellectual humility can lead to some disastrous consequences, as in the case of Sears. CEO Eddie Lambert thought he knew more about the retail industry than he actually did, ignored advice from seasoned executives, and despite the company's continual lackluster performance, stayed committed to his flawed thinking. Sears, once one of America's largest retailers, is now struggling to survive.

具有理性谦逊的人乐于犯错,考虑其他观点,并愿意改变自己的想法。杨百翰大学(Brigham Young University)伦理学教授布拉德利•欧文斯(Bradley Owens)表示:“具有理智谦逊的领导者能够克服顽固捍卫自己观点的诱惑,他们愿意牺牲自己的一些权力,甚至名誉,以确保获得正确的结果。”缺乏理智的谦逊可能会导致一些灾难性的后果,就像西尔斯的例子一样。该公司首席执行长兰伯特(Eddie Lambert)认为自己对零售业的了解比实际要多,无视经验丰富的高管的建议,尽管公司的业绩一直乏善可陈,但他仍然坚持自己有缺陷的想法。西尔斯,曾经是美国最大的零售商之一,现在正挣扎着生存。

3) Be a skeptic.

3) 做一个怀疑论者。

Look for evidence, don't take things at face value, and be wary of reason that taps into your emotions. Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou credits his East Coast skepticism and medical lens to exposing the dubious business practices of once celebrated Silicon Valley unicorn, Theranos. The founder, Elizabeth Holmes, achieved unprecedented success in large part because her supporters took her at her word; most lacked medical expertise, and were enthusiastic about the prospect of a female tech superstar in the same league as Jobs and Gates.

寻找证据,不要只看事物的表面价值,要警惕那些利用你情绪的原因。《华尔街日报》(Wall Street Journal)记者约翰•卡雷鲁(John careyrou)认为,他的东海岸怀疑论和医学视角,使他揭露了一度闻名于世的硅谷独角兽Theranos的可疑商业行为。创始人伊丽莎白·霍姆斯(Elizabeth Holmes)取得了空前的成功,在很大程度上是因为她的支持者相信了她的话;大多数人缺乏医学专业知识,对一位女性科技超级明星与乔布斯和盖茨同台竞技的前景充满了热情。

When you encounter someone with excess bravado, adopt a critical viewpoint, look for a track record of success, and check for intellectual humility. As we all know, confidence is a good thing but when there's too much of it, as the proverbial wisdom suggests, it's just too much.

当你遇到过分虚张声势的人时,采取一种批判的观点,寻找成功的记录,并检查在智力上是否保持谦逊。我们都知道,自信是一件好事,但当它太多的时候,就像谚语所说的,过犹不及。

The views expressed are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

所表达的观点是作者的观点,不一定是《科学美国人》的观点。

ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)

关于作者(们)

Khatera Sahibzada

Khatera Sahibzada

Khatera Sahibzada holds a PhD in industrial/organizational psychology and serves as a management consultant and executive coach to start-ups and Fortune 500 companies. Connect with her about leadership development, employee hiring and assessment, and performance management on @katsahib or email: info@ksahib.com.

Khatera Sahibzada拥有工业/组织心理学博士学位,是新兴企业和财富500强企业的管理顾问和高管教练。通过@katsahib或电子邮件info@ksahib.com联系她,了解领导力发展、员工招聘和评估以及绩效管理。

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