Beating the Ego, Ignorance, and Insecurity Monster w/ Andrew Greaves (Podcast)

In this simultaneously heavy and lighthearted discussion, Bryan Orr and Andrew Greaves discuss ego, Dunning-Kruger, insecurity, and apprenticeship in the trades.

In the early days, apprenticeships were quite different from the way they are today. One-on-one mentorship used to be a much more significant component of early apprenticeships, but that style of training is uncommon for today's apprentices in all sorts of trades. As a result, many young technicians enter the field too quickly and don't have the training to perform a job skillfully.

As such, many inexperienced techs become confident with bare-minimum work because nobody points out their mistakes. Moreover, many green techs also don't have the self-awareness to recognize their lack of skill. We call that disconnect between confidence and skill the “Dunning-Kruger effect.” Another common scenario is when techs understand that they don't know something but are too embarrassed to admit it. Unfortunately, a tech's ego can get in the way and make them stick to their guns for no good purpose.

However, old-timers are also part of the ego-ignorance equation. Many of them fail to explain the “why” behind their practices. Some old-timers share bad practices without knowing what they're doing. Moreover, when leadership breeds a culture of ignorance, the younger technicians will be set up for ignorance and ego problems.

The way to move past the Dunning-Kruger effect and check your ego is to think about what you're thinking about. Question the validity of your OWN thoughts and ideas, and accept that you could be wrong or have a flawed understanding.

Bryan and Andrew also discuss:

  • Techs' behavior on social media
  • Cognitive bias
  • Metacognition
  • Organizations that breed ignorance and ego issues

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