William Shakespeare Quote

We have all been there. When we have conquered many challenges before – we can often be overconfident when starting something new. The Dunning-Kruger effect (coined by psychologists Dunning and Kruger) is a type of cognitive bias that suggests that we aren’t aware of our own lack of knowledge.

We don’t know what we don’t know

When starting something new, we first must obtain knowledge of what we don’t know. Dunning and Kruger suggest that the less competent we are – the more likely we are to overestimate our own ability.

We see this play out in work scenarios where people can often fail to see their own incompetence, or political debate where people get involved in heated arguments over ideas that they would not necessarily support if they were to dig deeper into the subject.

Dunning-Kruger Effect Graph

The Dunning-Kruger effect in business

Becoming an Aspray Franchisee will involve some roles that you may be familiar with, but others will be completely new to you. Appreciating that the Dunning-Kruger effect will be at play will allow you to identify areas where extra support and training may be needed. 

Here are a few ways you can recognise the Dunning-Kruger effect:

You’re making decisions quickly to boost your confidence.
Nobody wants to look like they are struggling with a decision due to a lack of knowledge. But in truth, quick decisions only come with experience. If you find yourself wanting to make snap decisions when you are new to a role; stop and take some time to learn.  

You’re relying on your gut.
Your gut instinct can be a powerful guide in the world of business but could potentially stop you from challenging your own claims. If you feel you are relying on your gut too soon in your new role, try to produce a counter argument.

You apply the same logic to everything you encounter.
When coming across a problem, you may find yourself relying on instincts that you have used in the past, but they may not work in your new role. Starting something new is an opportunity to expand your arsenal in providing solutions to problems, so drop the old habits fast!

You don’t take criticism well.
If you have always been a top performer, taking criticism could be uncomfortable. Instead, ask for examples of how you can improve.

You think you have mastered everything!
Life and business have continuous learning curves. If you have always considered yourself as good with people, organised, or hard-working – the Dunning-Kruger effect suggests you should be critical in these sorts of assessments.

Gaps in our knowledge.

Dunning-Kruger effect

Studies by Dunning and Kruger strongly suggests we are pretty poor at evaluating gaps in our knowledge. Overcoming the Dunning-Kruger effect can be done by being curious, open, and committed to new concepts and topics. The better we can avoid biases, the better professionals, and people, we become.