Arrogance is defined as:
“…an insulting way of thinking or behaving that comes from believing that you are better, smarter, or more important than other people. Showing an offensive attitude of superiority” (www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/arrogant)
Arrogance entails propping yourself up – whether it’s through public displays or to yourself. It often involves knocking others down, at the same time. It is generally defined as all of the following:
The act or habit of making undue claims in an overbearing manner;
That species of pride which consists in exorbitant claims of rank, dignity, estimation, or power, or which exalts the worth or importance of the person to an undue degree; and
Proud contempt of others.
Other names for arrogance are: egotism, conceit, grandiosity, and self-importance. Ancient Greek literature refers to hubris, a form of arrogance in which a person thinks himself to be higher in status than other ordinary mortals. In other words, a god. Such behavior typically can be traced back to an individual’s early childhood and the fear of their OWN vulnerability to negative perceptions that others have of them, such as:
Being vulnerable to any kind of criticism or disapproval.
Any perceived weakness, failing or imperfection is undesirable and unacceptable.
If I show any of my real weaknesses, failings or imperfections, it could be disastrous.
Hence, showing vulnerability in the eyes of others becomes unacceptable and frightening. The coping mechanism these individuals employ to manage their fear is tomanipulate others’ perceptions—to ensure that there is never anything for them to disapprove of or criticize.
Perhaps you achieved a fair measure of success or were given a high ranking position, which led you to take on an inflated sense of yourself. This likely has manifested itself in a heightened sense of your own self-importance which is the classic definition of arrogance.
HOW TO TELL IF YOU TRULY ARE ARROGANT.
Following is a short list of questions you can and should ask yourself, to gauge the degree of hubris you possess. You have to answer truthfully.
- Do you find yourself often dismissing the ideas of others off-hand and without consideration, because you think you are more experienced, seasoned, or possess a better insight or their insights cannot help you?
- Do you assume that your business cannot possibly lose market share from that upstart that lacks your size, resources, and time spent in business?
- Do you think your employees perform at high enough levels of productivity, and do not require additional training, motivation, rewards and recognition from you?
- Do you avoid soliciting ideas from your employees, friends, family, peers as a general practice?
- Are you confident you know everything there is to know about your business, the industry you compete in, your clients, vendors, and employees? HINT: If you answered YES to this, drop your pen right now, because you ARE arrogant. There simply is NO way we can know everything there is to know about ANYTHING.
- Would you ever consider hiring an outsider (a coach, mentor, consultant, adviser, confidant) to help you improve your professional acumen and business operations?
- When was the last time you said the words “I WAS WRONG” and… “I’M SORRY.”
By answering multiple questions in the affirmative, you likely possess a degree of arrogance, which may pose a threat to your career, professional and business goals.
Arrogance can have an extremely debilitating effect on those people that are incapable of seeing the value in others. For starters, arrogance can lead to complacency. Arrogance can lead to the false belief that one is capable of resolving all the challenges one encounters in these constantly changing times without assistance from others.
Excessive pride can cause one to make careless and unnecessary mistakes due to a lack of wise judgement. You may trust too much in your instincts and abilities, underestimate the situation or the capabilities of your competitors, overestimate the loyalty you have built with your clients, employees, vendors and other stakeholders.
Arrogance can cloud your judgement and make you lose touch with reality, which will always lead to failure.
Being arrogance can lead us not to seek out and heed the advice of others and to the extreme can and will serve to alienate the people you trust most and rely on. Arrogance is a personality trait that is universally despised.
OKAY. I MAY BE ARROGANT, BUT WHAT IS THERE TO DO?
If you ever find yourself exhibiting such behavior and truly wish to stop, here are a few suggestions I work with my clients to implement on a routine basis.
- Give meaningful compliments by citing specific accomplishments that others have achieved. Don’t say “You did great work.” That’s meaningless. Cite specific examples of the challenge they faced, the action(s) they took, and the results achieved.
- Learn to ask questions, then listen HARD! Listening at 100% and being FULLY engaged is truly one of the hardest things to do but is so rewarding.
- Give credit to others, rather than taking it all for yourself.
- Admit when you’re wrong. It is NOT a sign of weakness, but rather of incredible strength.
- Laugh at yourself. Don’t be so quick to take offense.
Remember you have limitations, you’re not perfect so you can constantly learn from experiences AND OTHERS if only you open yourself up to the possibility of achieving true growth and becoming a better person.
Remember above all else, that life is a journey and NOT a destination.
Here’s to your continued success in 2016.
Here’s to your continued success in 2016!