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Incompetence and Self-Awareness of Competence

by Competent, I think... from theysaid 3/14/05

After reading the recent messages regarding the incompetent FMO, I mentioned in an email to Ab, that the FMO in question would probably be very angry to read there was somebody like that in authority.  And that they would also be totally unaware they were reading about themself.  I was basing my comment on a newspaper article I'd read about 7 years ago.  I had to do a Google to find it, but once I used the right words it came up in hundreds of links.  The item refers to a study done by a professor of psychology at Cornell and may be read at the link below.

What it basically says is that incompetent people do not realize they are incompetent and that they are also unable to acknowledge the competency of others.  If you have, do, or think you may in the future, work with, supervise, or be supervised by an incompetent person, this article is a must read!  What you do with the article after reading it is your decision.  The biggest problem I see is, even if an incompetent person reads it, they will most likely agree with it, but won't recognize it in themselves.

When I read the article, I spent a couple of days questioning myself about my competency, I expect all competent people will.  Since I had the dubious pleasure of working with a very incompetent person at the time, I left it laying around in the hopes they might pick it up.  They did, they agreed with everything in it, they even confided the names and details of those they knew who fit the profile.

So therein lies an inherent problem.  If you're already competent, you will analyze yourself and discover ways to improve.  If you're incompetent, you may also analyze yourself, but will be unable to recognize you're incompetent.  Oh well, regardless of benefit, it is interesting and can help explain the character or behavior of some.  Here's one link, many more in various formats can be found using the words dunning, cornell, incompetent.

www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2000/01/18/MN73840.DTL

Sign me: 

Competent, I think. . .

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