One of the things which distinguish humans from robots is that humans make mistakes and have flaws. What we often do to enhance our image is go to great lengths to mask or eliminate our imperfections.

Well, it turns out that to show that we’re great at something it may be a good idea to say openly that we’re not as perfect as it seems.

Check out: If You’re Confident About Competence, Admit Your Flaws






  • befit – to be proper or appropriate for; suit; fit
  • abide – continuing without change;
  • redress – compensation or satisfaction for a wrong or injury
  • proclaim – to announce or declare in an official or formal manner
  • augment – to make larger; enlarge in size, number, strength, or extent
  • efficacy – capacity for producing a desired result or effect; effectiveness
  • aficionado – an ardent devotee; fan, enthusiast
  • shrink – psychotherapist
  • accrue – accumulate, collect, grow, increase



Think about it

Based on the article answer the questions below. 

  • What unusual message did the Vatican PR machine issue?
  • Why was this message rather counterintuitive in terms of impression management?
  • In what way was Louis Gerstner’s message to IBM similar to that about the new pope?
  • What is the so-called augmentation effect?
  • Should we fully disclose our flaws? Why? Why not?


Practice makes perfect

In the sentences below replace the phrases in bold with the expressions from the original text

  • Within moments of seeing white smoke come out from the Sistine Chapel, media outlets were flooded with a huge number of reports about the former Cardinal Bergoglio
  • This certainly runs against conventional wisdom about how best to conduct impression management
  • Back in 1999, Louis V. Gerstner “let out” word that he had a deficiency immediately before assuming control at IBM.
  • Gerstner exposed his vulnerability by stating [. . .]
  • The notion that admitting flaws enhances impression management efficacy is not pure guess.


Put the words and expressions in bold in the correct blank spaces below.

similar to bragging about   –    turn into    –   of no importance    –    behavior at work    –    be enough    –    flaws    –    taking all your clothes off

Yes, over-disclosing your ______  is a huge error. Most of what we keep private about ourselves is ________ to our ________ and, as such, of concern to no one. Moreover, to metaphorically ________ in front of business associates is ________ the purity of the meats used in your sausages by providing tours of your processing plant. A simple, “No fillers or additives used” will ________ ; specific details of how hogs ________ your hot dogs are, once again, TMI.


Now find the paragraph in the text and see what words and phrases have been used originally.


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