Have you ever had an audit client who seemed to have all the answers to every query immediately. They have a presence that is either captivating or intimidating or both. They deliver explanations to you with an unmoving confidence. It is important to consider that confidence does not necessarily equate to competence. And overconfidence can ruin great organizations.
A recent study published on the Medical News Today website suggests that there is a huge benefit to overconfidence. The study suggests that the overconfident “enjoy more influence and prestige over others, they are more admired and listened to, and have a strong influence on group discussions and decisions. And they are often promoted over their more competent peers.” Now imagine an audit client with this kind of power, but without the true knowledge and ability to lead. This is a control environment disaster waiting to happen.
So how might you recognize an overconfident client? The study suggests that they
- Are not rude
- Talk a lot in groups
- Use a confident tone
- Provide the most information
- Are cool and calm
What does this means for auditors. I think it means that we should:
- Seek competent audit clients
- Acknowledge the confident client
- Beware of and effectively manage the overconfident client
- Always trust but verify
Have you ever encountered the overconfident client? How did you manage the situation?
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