Published: May 4, 2022

They say what you don’t know can’t hurt you—but what could you do if you knew more?

The answer, according to research from Leeds professor Phillip Fernbach, lies in overcoming the “knowledge illusion” by understanding what we don’t know to become better leaders and teammates.

Fernbach visited the Leeds Business Insights podcast to demonstrate how people overestimate how much they know and unconsciously attribute information from the outside community as their own.

“Because it's so natural for us to rely on information that exists outside of our own heads, we often fail to realize what's in our heads,” he said. “So if everybody around me is sort of nodding their head and saying, ‘oh yeah, we understand this,’ we sort of get the feeling that we ourselves understand it as well.” 

So how do you best the knowledge illusion to make better business decisions? Fernbach recommended accepting that you can’t always know everything and instead capitalizing on building teams with complementary skills to maximize functionality.

Leeds Business Insights features conversations with alumni, faculty and others in the Leeds community, who discuss current challenges in business and offer actionable takeaways to help you solve problems and advance in your career. You can find an episode summary on the Leeds website, and can subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

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