Competence vs Confidence

Competence vs Confidence

There’s an abundance of confident people out there that don’t have a clue. And a balance of confident and competent is hard to find.

Ask a CEO of a growing company in Africa, what is your number one human resource problem? Most CEOs will tell you their number one HR problem is finding people who are competent enough to do the job well.

Africa isn’t alone in this struggle.

Acclaimed venture capitalist and startup guru, Brad Feld recently wrote,

Over a long period of time, I’ve come to realize that a balance between confidence and competence is very appealing to me. I’m attracted to people who know what they know and know what they don’t know. These people are constantly learning and their competence around a particular topic increases linearly with their confidence.

There’s something to be said for a gradual balance between confidence and competence. And I would agree, it’s attractive to hear an entrepreneur say I don’t know the answer to that, but I’ll find out. Rather than making up an answer on the spot and fooling himself into thinking he’s too legit to quit.

Brad continues:

Recently, I realized that we refer to people as over-confident or under-confident, but rarely refer to people as over-competent or under-competent. We do refer to people as clueless, ignorant, stupid, and other things that imply under-competent, but often in the context of their level of confidence. I don’t really know of a phrase we use for over-competent.

Where do you personally sit on the spectrum of competence and confidence? Striving for a healthy balance is an admiral goal for sure.

(photo via jake stimpson)