Go read this five-part blog series from Erroll Morris and then ask yourself the question, How do I make sure that I know when I’m wrong?
Morris is writing about a condition termed Anosognosia, which you can broadly define as not having a clue how wrong you are. No matter how smart we are, none of us are exempt from the condition: we all will encounter the famous “unknown unknowns” that influence our life on a macro- and micro- scale.
But when you’re incompetent, the skills you need to produce a right answer are exactly the skills you need to recognize what a right answer is.
The challenge for those of us who are in positions in responsibility is to minimize the potential for anosognostic behavior as much a possible.
The most important way to do this on a daily basis is to try to see things through other people’s eyes. When someone presents an alternative point of view, no matter how aggressively or impolitely, we are obligated to try to understand how that point of view makes sense to them.
When you are in a position of putative power and authority this is one of the hardest disciplines to exercise. But it is one of the most important.