Everyone will have a perception about your abilities. Sometimes they’re unfounded. Some are accurate… you know the rest…
We have an idea of our capabilities and we’d like those around us to be as accurate as possible in their asses them. The truth is sometimes we really want people to see our capabilities as higher than they really are.
Leaders want their teams to admire them for how smart and great leaders they are. Team members want their leaders to overrate them so they seem a tad bit better than their colleagues. They want to be further acknowledged by having greater responsibility inferred on them.
Who are we fooling? The sad truth is that when we portray ourselves to be better at something than we really are, we set our teams and ourselves up for failure. There is a fine line between stretching yourself and misrepresenting yourself. Misrepresenting yourself includes you not correcting people who rate your abilities as greater.
I don’t deny, being ‘graded’ better than you really are can present an opportunity for you to go up to ‘the next level’. There is a greater risk of failure. The stakes are higher and the reputation that you’ve worked for years to build could be destroyed in an instant.
Be honest about your abilities. Firstly, to yourself and to those who attempt to enlist you with a perception that you’re greater than you are. Be honest that you aspire to the quality they’ve graded you to and state exactly what you’re doing to get there.
This will give you credibility with people. Integrity is when your words and your actions are one. This is a character we want everyone around us to have. The irony is we, ourselves, are willing to compromise this when it comes to us. We want everyone else to be truthful about his or her abilities while we want to seem greater than we really are.
Stop trying to get ahead through the image and be the real deal. Leaders, teams respect and will follow a leader that is real. Leaders love team members that are honest about their capabilities.
The danger of being dishonest cannot be overstated. It will be obvious that you’re incompetent when it matters most. And those are the defining moments. Those critical moments when you’re required to deliver at the level you’re not are the times people are either catapulted further up or taken down to even lower depths.
Don’t be smug; be real. Don’t undermine yourself; say exactly where you’re at. There is nothing wrong with being on a lower rung on the ladder as long as you’re working on getting better. Be honest.