ALWAYS LISTEN TO FEEDBACK THAT MAY APPEAR INITIALLY DISAGREEABLE: MYRA S WHITE & SANJAY JHA ON THE Superstar Syndrome

Ankita Rai Last Updated at September 2, 2013 00:14 IST

In the absence of internal awareness, individuals can crumble easily at the first roadblock, Myra White and Sanjay Jha tell Ankita Rai Assistant Editor, Brandwagon, Financial Express

While it is important for a leader or a start-up entrepreneur to believe in himself, such a belief can also lead to overconfidence and failure. Can this be managed?

Jha: The starting block is always self-belief; it is an inner conviction, a clarity of thought, a mental roadmap backed by self-confidence. In the absence of this internal awareness, individuals can crumble easily at the first roadblock ( and you face many speed-bumps along the way, incidentally) or get distracted by quick success or new alternatives.

Either way, all of it can derail the original plan. There is a wafer-thin line between self-belief and overconfidence; the former keeps you constantly grounded amidst odds, the latter can make you reckless, arrogant and often disconnected with reality. It is important to listen to others, particularly feedback that may appear initially disagreeable or discordant.

White: The confidence exhibited by people who become leaders and achievers is rooted in their knowledge of their mini-strengths, the little things that they do well and an awareness and acceptance of their weaknesses. This latter awareness of their weaknesses leads them to avoid tasks, which they do poorly and delegate them to others.

The overconfidence that at times leads people to fail is a result of the fact that people are often unaware of their lack of competence in a particular area. Psychological studies have found that participants who score in the bottom quartile on tests grossly overestimate their scores whereas those who receive the highest scores tend to underestimate their performance.

You say, “Superstar aren’t afraid to fail.” But for entrepreneurs, the stakes could be very high. While failure could be a great learning experience, it can also put one’s credibility at risk…

In the absence of internal awareness, individuals can crumble easily at the first roadblock, Myra White and Sanjay Jhatell Ankita Rai

While it is important for a leader or a start-up entrepreneur to believe in himself, such a belief can also lead to overconfidence and failure. Can this be managed?

Jha: The starting block is always self-belief; it is an inner conviction, a clarity of thought, a mental roadmap backed by self-confidence. In the absence of this internal awareness, individuals can crumble easily at the first roadblock ( and you face many speed-bumps along the way, incidentally) or get distracted by quick success or new alternatives.

Either way, all of it can derail the original plan. There is a wafer-thin line between self-belief and overconfidence; the former keeps you constantly grounded amidst odds, the latter can make you reckless, arrogant and often disconnected with reality. It is important to listen to others, particularly feedback that may appear initially disagreeable or discordant.

White: The confidence exhibited by people who become leaders and achievers is rooted in their knowledge of their mini-strengths, the little things that they do well and an awareness and acceptance of their weaknesses. This latter awareness of their weaknesses leads them to avoid tasks, which they do poorly and delegate them to others.

The overconfidence that at times leads people to fail is a result of the fact that people are often unaware of their lack of competence in a particular area. Psychological studies have found that participants who score in the bottom quartile on tests grossly overestimate their scores whereas those who receive the highest scores tend to underestimate their performance.

You say, “Superstar aren’t afraid to fail.” But for entrepreneurs, the stakes could be very high. While failure could be a great learning experience, it can also put one’s credibility at risk…

Jha: Steve Jobs and Apple are classic examples of comeback epics. Failure is inevitable at some stage or the other of any business entity or an individual. Life is not a cakewalk, superstars are fully aware of that; in fact this awareness comes mostly at the pinnacle of their success when the world anoints them as superheroes. That is why a Roger Federer could handle the dramatic rise of Rafael Nadal or a Tiger Woods became the world number 1 again despite a horrific personal-life crisis. Often we fail not necessarily on account of personal vulnerabilities or bad decisions but because the marketplace dynamics may have changed overnight. Whatever the reasons, the old saying holds true; failures are the pillars of success, especially in a vibrant consumer-oriented markets of today.

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