The 'Curse of Competence' and rewarding individual achievement

Posted by Bob Corlett on February 11, 2014

Business ShivaThe Zen riddle of hiring and performance management is trying to distinguish individual performance from team performance.

Over time, on any team, the stronger people will tend to draw the tougher assignments, the more productive people will tend to draw the bigger projects, and the smarter people will tend to draw the more complex problems. Managers might view that as good delegation, but team members often view it more like Dilbert, who calls it the curse of competence.

To hire effectively, keep in mind that everyone on a well-managed team tends to look good to outsiders. They even look good to themselves. Research shows that the least competent people are often among the most confident in their own abilities. (This profoundly disturbing finding is called the Dunning-Kruger effect.)

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Topics: Hiring Managers