The Goldilocks of Confidence

Case In Point: Crafting Your Consulting Career is available NOW! and covers topics like these to help you craft a successful consulting career. The book captures insights from hundreds of hours of informational interviews and lessons learned from targeted interviews with nearly twenty consultants. A workshop will be delivered on Saturday, April 24th from 12pm-3pm EDT to help consultants hit the ground running and advance their careers. Register here: https://casequestions.com/cycc-workshop/

Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, provides a wealth of insights and thought-provoking concepts that can help us all advance our careers. If not already doing so, I recommend following him on twitter (@AdamMGrant) and adding his Worklife podcast to your regular rotation. His latest book Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know introduced me to this concept of confident humility. While countless jobs seek “confidence” and “executive presence” — there is a balance between confidence and confidence. While I don’t cover this topic explicitly in Case In Point: Crafting Your Consulting Career — I do cover how to balance overconfidence and the imposter syndrome.

Confident humility comes with self-awareness and can be built by being a lifelong learner. Confidence stems from the confidence in your ability to learn, adapt, and apply a skill. Humility comes in recognizing where your gaps are and knowing what you do not know. This awareness resides in the sweet spot of confidence and competence, where you are not debilitated by imposter syndrome and the lack the confidence in your abilities, while also not being disillusioned by the dunning-kruger effect where you are overconfident in your capabilities.

Grant cites rigorous studies of leaders in China and the United States that found that the most innovative teams were led by people who scored highly in both confidence and humility. Confident humility starts with knowing yourself. Understand your strengths, your gaps, your ability to learn, and how you learn best. Assessments like the Clifton Strengthsfinder (formerly Gallup Strengthsfinder), DISC Assessment, and Emotional and Social Competence Inventory (ESCI), can help you better understand strengths and weaknesses. Knowing your limitations prepares you to craft a roadmap to a solution — whether through reading, networking and finding experts, or learning. As you advance in your career, remind yourself that no one is infallible, every opportunity is a learning opportunity, and identify your resources, outlets, and teammates who complement or help you address your weak spots.

Twitter: @evan_piekara

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Evan specializes in change management and is the author of Case In Point: Government and Nonprofit. https://publicsectorcaseinterviewprep.com/

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Evan Piekara

Evan specializes in change management and is the author of Case In Point: Government and Nonprofit. https://publicsectorcaseinterviewprep.com/