Bad Boss BS: “I got carried away…”

How lazy brains can filter out information and create a blindspot which masks unconscious incompetence

Inattention blindness

There’s so much information in the world that it’s hard to keep track of it all. We naturally filter out information and focus our attention on where we think it’s most useful. Noel Burch presents a model for how we learn new skills that hints at how this ‘filtering’ can result in incompetence.

A bad boss surrounded by the learning cycle I’ve just described — moving through unconscious incompetence, conscious incompetence, conscious competence and unconscious competence. At this stage we’re sometimes vulnerable to falling back into incompetence.

Blinded by success

Lots of bad bosses are victims of ‘fourth stage vulnerability.’ They’ve taken their eye off the ball and it’s smacked them in the face — or it’s bounced off them and hit us in the face… either way, someone has a hurty face.



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I'm a Creative director at the BBC. I like words, design, data and magic. These are all my own views (apart from retweets. I borrowed those to look clever.)