The dangers of overconfident leaders

In the midst of rapid political changes, The Myers-Briggs Company looks at the dangers of overconfident leaders and how this can be managed in both the political and workplace spheres

London, UK – 30 Jul 2019 - Psychological research tells us that the experts who sound most confident and authoritative are generally listened to more and believed in more fully. This is because humans instinctively respond to confidence in a positive way. However, those who sound most self-assured in their pronouncements aren’t necessarily the most accurate or truthful. In fact, research has revealed that experts who sound the most confident are also the most likely to get things wrong. Therefore, overzealous and over-confident leaders can mean potential dangers for both the political scene and the workplace. 

These negative effects of overconfidence are often also exacerbated by ‘group think’. In the rush to make decisions, any information that is inconvenient to the story constructed by the leader is often ignored. Further research has also demonstrated that overconfident and dominant leaders can actively inhibit information exchange between members of a group, making the situation even worse. 

One way to overcome these challenges, in both the political and workplace spheres, is to build self-awareness. By becoming more aware of their personality and their particular biases, individuals can make more informed decisions, helping them to overcome the pressure to follow group think. Personality questionnaires like the MBTI® assessment give people a framework to compare themselves to others and can be extremely useful in facilitating more balanced problem solving. If we know that when it comes to taking in information, we tend to concentrate on the facts and past experience rather than future possibilities (Sensing rather than Intuition in MBTI terms), we can force ourselves to spend time in our less preferred mode. The same goes for making decisions – do we tend to rely more on logic (Thinking) or pay more attention to values (Feeling)?

When people with similar personality types get together, group think is likely to be seen, especially when decisions need to be made under pressure. But by making the group spend equal time on both their preferred and non-preferred styles of thought, the MBTI framework can help people to evaluate the suggestions of opinion leaders in a more rounded way. This ultimately helps us to make better organisational decisions – and is perhaps even advice that our political leaders could take note of.


About The Myers-Briggs Company 
In our fast-changing world, your edge lies in harnessing 100 percent of your talent – whether you’re at work, home, school, college, or anywhere in between. Your success and sense of fulfilment aren’t just about what you know and what you can do, they hinge on your relationships and interactions with others. The Myers-Briggs Company empowers individuals to be the best versions of themselves by enriching self-awareness and their understanding of others. We help organisations around the world improve teamwork and collaboration, develop inspirational leaders, foster diversity and solve their most complex people challenges. As a certified B Corp (and a registered California Benefit Corporation), The Myers-Briggs Company is a force for good. Our powerfully practical solutions are grounded in a deep understanding of the significant social and technological trends that affect people and organisations. With over 60 years in assessment development and publishing, and over 30 years of consultancy and training expertise, a global network of offices, partners and certified independent consultants in 115 countries, products in 29 languages, and experience working with 88 of the Fortune 100 companies, we’re ready to help you succeed.


Media Contacts:

Hiwot Wolde-Senbet,
Flagship Consulting
Claire Nelson,
Flagship Consulting
Natasha Cobby,
Flagship Consulting
+44 207 680 7104

Petra Merne
The Myers-Briggs Company
+44 1865 404584