Trusting someone who appears overconfident

by Bronwyn

Have you noticed how some people are able to immediately create a space or environment where you feel that you can trust them. You may have just met but you can sense that beginning with an open trusting means of communicating is a high value for them. Then you meet other people where they are cautious and you have to earn their trust. I find being in the space with someone like this very challenging. It feels very judgemental. Then I started to think about whether there is a connection between not trusting and being overly confident? Confidence come from high levels of self esteem. Over confidence come from low levels of self esteem and I think of it more as appearing egotistical. I think we misread this behaviour at times as appearing assertive and strong. But its not, it is an attempt to conceal a lack of confidence.

Malcolm Gladwell has again beautifully articulated this as the following “If incompetence is the disease of the novice, overconfidence is the disease of the expert.” He believes that overconfident people are scarey as they have the dangerous ability to create disaster. People who are in a leadership role and behave in this way do indeed cause great concern. Their level of awareness is limited as they create a false sense of reality around them to prop them up, helping them remain overconfident. And yet they are in a very powerful position.

But does this type of behaviour have a connection to being mistrusting? I believe it does. If you are overconfident and believe that you are the expert and know all then you are not open to others. This type of behaviour can be very controlling, dogmatic and aggressive. This cannot build trust but only destroy it.