Self-image vs. public image: most managers are overestimating themselves

Mon, 14. May 2018

Many surveys show: Most managers are convinced, that they are good and favoured leaders. 80 % are very pleased with their style of leadership. This self-perception does not reflect what employees are thinking. Less than 50 % do not see the collaboration with their managers as effective.


Self-perception and awareness of others are often clearly diverged. Particularly male managers show a clear tendency to overestimate their leadership capabilities. There is a thin line between a healthy self-confidence and a problematic overestimation of leadership qualities and it is worth for companies having a closer look.


Unrealistic self-assessment can lead to fatal decisions. And managers having an unrealistic self-perception are not good for the working atmosphere. A negative working atmosphere is the reason number one for employee turnover. Self-congratulatory managers are poisoning the working climate, cost money and are damaging the reputation of the company as attractive employer.


What makes a manager a good manager? Surveys show what employees are expecting of their managers:


  • can handle criticism
  • delegates tasks and responsibility
  • comes to decisions
  • ist able to give constructive feedback and appreciates performance with praise
  • is a team player


Desire and reality often diverge. Also this fact is clearly proven by respective surveys. The majority of employees state that criticism is not welcome at all. And only a minority thinks that their skills and potential are stimulated by their manager.


While most managers think that they give ear to the requests and concerns of employees, less than the half of employees say that their manager is ready for an open and fair-minded dialogue. And only a fourth of employees receives continuous feedback. More than 50% never receive any feedback! In short: It is time to stop this system of overestimation.


It is important to promote a feedback culture in every organisation. For example with continuous employee surveys. Without feedback from employees there is no self-reflection. Managers cannot learn from mistakes when they are not challenging themselves.




Author: Nora Heer

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