The eyes of a discerning leader see three kinds of people.

First, the overconfident

This person thinks he knows more than he actually does. He may not be prideful, even though pride may motivate some of his actions. At other times, this person may be lacking in self-esteem and wants to prove himself to others, or to show the boss how good he is.
What Kind of Person

No matter the underlying cause, there is a disconnect between his present abilities and what he thinks he is capable of doing. It also doesn’t mean that this person wouldn’t eventually bridge the gap between their confidence and their ability. It just means at the moment, the gap exists. Because these people usually have great potential and are often good at several things, they can fool the undiscerning boss. These kinds of people are dangerous when working in a sensitive environment. They have potential but lack the wisdom to go with it.

Second,  the underconfident

He doesn’t have enough self-confidence. He is good but doesn’t believe in himself. So he delivers way less than they are capable of delivering. This kind of person is hard to deal with and can be frustrating. A discerning leader will see his tremendous potential and may want to help him believe in himself only to realize that inspiring this kind of person takes time, technique, and effort.

Third, the euconfident

This is the one who has just the right level of confidence to match his capabilities. This person is not lacking in self-confidence. Yet, he knows his limits. He knows when to ask for help and when to do it alone. He knows when to trail-blaze and when to follow the beaten path. He realizes that asking for help is not a sign of weakness. He knows that plans fail for lack of counsel but with many advisers, they succeed. He has a healthy degree of self-distrust. This person will be trusted with much and will gain autonomy faster not because the boss thinks he is smarter than all the others but because the boss knows that he knows the limits of his own capability. He will call for help as soon as he needs it. As such, he will not screw up things trying to do it alone.

Wisdom shows itself in discerning what we can and cannot do and in having the restraint and humility to stop and get help.

Action Point

We are all a work in progress. Make some time to examine yourself today and take steps toward becoming what I refer to as the euconfident person.