In this post, I talked about the Illusion of Confidence, one of the three fatal illusions in Knowledge Management. According to this illusion, people value knowledge more if it comes from a confident person. This would be fine if confidence and knowledge go hand in hand, but in fact there is almost an inverse relationship. A lack of knowledge is, instead, allied to overconfidence. Lack of knowledge leads to confidence, which leads to you being seen as knowledgeable.
There is an interesting article in Strategy+Business called "The Decision-Making Flaw in Powerful People" that shows that there is another side to this, namely the illusion of self confidence.
The article cites for studies which look at the issue of Power in whether people are open to advice and knowledge form others, and says that
"In all four studies, they found that powerful people were more likely than those with less power to disregard and mistrust outside perceptions and advice — and that men were more likely than women to disregard guidance from others"Power increases confidence, the paper’s authors say, which can lead to an excessive belief in one’s own judgment and ultimately to flawed decisions, as powerful people give short shrift to a crucial part of the decision-making process: listening to advice. As a result, leaders can live in a knowledge bubble.
This is something we need to be aware of in KM, especially when trying to improve the knowledge flow up and down the heirarchy.