Thursday, April 23, 2015

Confidence Versus Arrogance

There are significant differences between a confident person and an arrogant one. The difference can be seen in how a person works with others. Do they build people up or knock them down?
A confident person is self aware and will likely see mistakes or failures as learning opportunities. The focus will be solutions and working with the best people to find them. A confident person doesn't feel a need to know everything, generally is willing to share what they know and are willing to seek those who may know more. Their interest in leadership has little to do with power and much to do with team empowerment. It's a joy to follow a confident person who recognizes and applauds the people around them.
An arrogant person may appear to be self confident but, in reality, their self perception is based on appearing to be above others and above reproach. They view mistakes or failures as character flaws so someone else needs to be held responsible. They are noxious, rude and even cruel to their "inferiors". The only people who aren't treated as inferiors are those they believe they can leverage to get ahead. They are not quick to share information because they need to be the person "in the know".
They tend to be extremely critical and crave positions of power and authority. No one needs to tell them anything. They already googled it.
Dealing with an arrogant person is quite challenging. If you are forced to deal with one, here are some suggestions.
1) They may be arrogant but they are not entirely stupid. They are just not able to see the benefit of skilled people around them. And they don't realize how much that works against them. Try not to treat them the way they treat you. Patiently educate them.
2) Don't let their arrogance influence how you feel about yourself or how you treat others. There may be a nugget of gold buried in their barked order or uneducated request that will improve what you do. They are your toughest audience. If you can please them, everyone else is a piece of cake.
3) Try to build their ego. Arrogant people are actually very insecure. They need their power and status to feel good about themselves. Tell them what they are good at - honestly - they are likely good at something even if it's not dealing with people. Feed their ego and they will feed on someone else.
4) Distance yourself. Build a network of supportive people. Do what you do best. Don't let that person be the filter by which you are viewed. They want that power. Don't let it happen. Arrogant people use people as stepping stones and the stones get tossed in the river.
5) And finally if they are controlling your support network, move on. An arrogant person can be so dominating that you cannot thrive in the environment they create. They are, at this point, the total bully that deserves none of your energy. If they are able, due to the existing culture, to control your support network, there is a greater problem than them. Let them dominate inferior people. Let them manipulate whomever they like. You should not be one of them.

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