Have you ever met someone who's all gung-ho about themself and talk themself up? They act like they're the news of the city but once you get to know them, you realize they're all noise and no fluff. This phenomena is called as Dunning-Kruger effect and people can easily fall into this trap of cognitive bias.

So how do you deal with employees who've this superior bias about themself? If you've seen some employees underperform but they feel that they've been doing a great job, they're clearly in denial of the situation. Firing them could push them to a deep sadness & surprise as they would've no idea why they got fired. Well, they always thought they were the employee of the month. How can they get fired?

What if I told you there's a way where you can utilize their bias to the advantage of the organization? Before I move ahead with that, allow me to provide a couple insights on how to neutralize this situation if you don't want to utilize their superior bias.

Radical Candor - Sometimes being candid is the best way to shine some light on an issue. If you're the manager, a 1-on-1 meeting would be the best place to address it with some examples of how this bias is hampering the organization, culture & the employee himself. If the employee has the ability to receive constructive criticism, it'll be gladly accepted and checked.

Team Intervention - An advise of caution before going ahead with this technique - this should be applied if the employee's team has a really good influence on the employee. People are highly affected by what their close friends think about them and this intervention should be conducted in the positive hope of change & care. Pitting random teammates agains the employee through an intervention could backfire.


Now, coming to the meat of the solution on how this bias can be utilized by organizations to improve baseline.

One thing that people get wrong (employees & the employers) is the matching of the personality to the job description. If you've a high energy evangelist in your team and you've put them in the product department, you're hampering your chances of using an employee to their full potential. An high energy evangelist should be on the front line handling accounts, customer success or marketing even thought they're a great programmer or product manager.

Of course I gave a simple example of an obvious situation but believe me, I've seen it happen over and over again. This breeds cultural misfit within teams and its best to address these things at the time of hiring.

Now that you've hired a wrong person for the wrong job, what do you do?
Simple, move them to the right job profile. Once you figure out the personalities of the people working for you, next thing would be to check for misfits. Please understand that they maybe misfits because of the profile they're working in; it may not be personal. Once identified, simply match the right person to the right job and see the puzzle coming along real well.

At Nasch, we've helped organizations identify, analyze & utilize this bias before and we've seen some real success with minor moves within the teams. Hope this helps you too!