Malcolm Gladwell is the author of The Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers, talked about the danger of overconfidence at his catalyst session. I found it hard to hear most of his session but there were a few things that stood out for me:
Incompetence irritates me, but overconfidence scares me. Incompetent people rarely have the opportunities to make mistakes that greatly affect things. But overconfident leaders and experts have the dangerous ability to create disaster.
How much disaster could be averted if leader’s didn’t get so overconfident? A scriptural parallel to this might be King Saul, or even King David and his decision to conduct a census of the number of men able to fight in Israel (disobeying God in the process).
In times of crisis we don’t need bold and daring decision making from our leaders we need bold humility!
Reggie Joiner joined the stage and had two questions for Malcolm. In his answers, Malcolm revealed that the primary warning sign of overconfidence is when you stop listening to others (incidentally, this reminded me very much of a chapter I read in Andy Stanley’s book, “Principle of the Path” a really good read). Malcolm also made the statement that when a leader can no longer do everything all by himself, he has to change. When a leader’s growth reaches a certain point, he has to change. He presented the idea (probably not a new idea but nevertheless) that leadership has to become more collective.
For more on what others have said on this session see:
- Michael Hyatt, “The Necessity of Humility in Leadership“
- Marshall Shelley, “Malcolm Gladwell: What’s More Dangerous than Incompetence“
- Brad Ruggles, “Catalyst 09: Malcolm Gladwell“
- Kent Schaffer, “Malcolm Gladwell on the Danger of Overconfidence“
- Mark Batterson, “Malcom Gladwell“