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Accurate Self-Assessment: Why is it important and do we really have it?

by | Dec 11, 2018

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Have you ever felt frustrated with others, or even yourself because they (or you) have not met your expectations?

Have you ever felt the want to appear ‘right’ in front of others?
Do you feel that your opinions always matter?

Do you often feel offended  (or insulted) when feedback is given?
Are you in constant conflict with others or ever felt that constant need to compete with them?

If you answered ‘Yes’ to two or more of these questions, you may be lacking the skill of Accurate Self Assessment.  This article will help you understand what accurate self-assessment is and will give you some tips on how to develop it – making you feel better about yourself and others.

What is Accurate Self Assessment?

Accurate Self Assessment is the ability of a person to accurately examine themselves – knowing exactly what they’re capable of and what their strengths and limitations are.  Not all of us have this ability.

According to Cornell University social psychologist David Dunning, PhD. “People overestimate themselves”, he says, “but more than that, they really seem to believe it. I’ve been trying to figure out where that certainty of belief comes from.”

In a series of manipulated studies on accurate self-assessment, Dunning found out that the “least competent performers inflate their abilities the most; that the reason for the overinflation seems to be ignorance, not arrogance; and that chronic self-beliefs, however inaccurate, underlie both people’s over and underestimations of how well they’re doing.”

It has also been found out that people who lack this competence manifests the following:

Tend to want to appear “right” in front of others.
• Fail to ask for help.
• Compete with others instead of cooperating.
• Exaggerate their own value and contribution.
• Set unrealistic, overly ambitious and unattainable goals for themselves and others.
• Push themselves hard, often at the expense of other parts of their lives.
• Push others hard
• Tend to micromanage and take over instead of delegating (“if you want it done right . . . “)
• Take credit for others’ efforts
• Blame others for mistakes, even if they made them
• Cannot admit mistakes or personal weaknesses
• Can’t accept feedback or criticism

Lacking accurate self-assessment can cause major burn-out and stress, not only to yourself but to the people around you, resulting in poor performance and broken relationships.

On the other hand, a person who is skilled at accurately assessing themselves examine themselves intently and  does not shun away even if what is reflected is not what they desire to see. They study themselves well and as such knows their capabilities and limitations. Since they accept themselves as they are, including their imperfections, they take criticism and feedback constructively.

They open themselves up to new perspectives and hunger for new ideas. They long for self-development and acknowledge that there are others that possess skills that they do not have. Instead of competing with them, they learn from them to improve on areas where they need to improve.

So how do you develop accurate self-assessment ? 

Here are some tips on how to develop this competency:

• Request feedback from time to time and accept it without becoming defensive.
• Make it safe for people to give you feedback.
• Be open to gaining new insights and learning new things.
• Take an assessment instrument such as a communication style profile like  Extended DISC to learn more about your strengths and development opportunities.
• Analyse your strengths and weaknesses.
• Ask others for their insights on your strengths and weaknesses.
• Maintain an openness and commit to ongoing learning, growth and improvement.
• Allow others to try new things, and create a safe environment for moderate risk-taking and failure.
• Be realistic in taking on new projects, setting new goals and objectives.


Having an Accurate Self Assessment can help you know your strengths and weakness and makes us excel at where we’re at. 

At People Builders we have a team of expert trainers and coaches that can help you and your team develop accurate self assessment.

Contact us today for a quick chat to see how we can partner with you to develop you and your team.