Arrogance: the Dark Side of Confidence


In your work, confidence is important. If you are a leader, confidence will help your team feel assured that the direction you are taking them is the correct one. As well, they will trust your judgment if you express a need to take a different path. Without confidence, you won’t be a leader because you won’t have anyone who will agree to follow you.

Even if you are “just” part of the team, you want to project confidence. After all, if you aren’t certain about the work you are doing or an idea you have, how do you expect others to be confident in your contributions?  The concern with confidence, however, is when you hit the tipping point – when you go from confidence into the darkness of arrogance.

 Before you decide that you won’t need to worry about arrogance overcoming you, take a look at the following scenarios. Do any of them sound familiar?

1. Other team members just don’t come up with good ideas anymore. You can’t quite put your finger on when it started happening, but they just aren’t dependable for anything anymore. You’ll just have to do it all, right?

2. The significance of your own contributions seems to have grown lately. Oh, it’s such a good thing that the company has you around! What on earth would they do without your brilliant insights? You know, they should promote you so you can make an even bigger impact! In fact, you could run the company better than the CEO…

3. Brainstorming sessions are so unproductive! Every time you participate in these sessions, you always find that the suggestions your coworkers come up with in there are really dumb! Of course, you point out all the flaws in their ideas – you wouldn’t want them actually implementing any of them and having all sorts of problems because of their short-sightedness.

Now, if you find yourself recoiling in horror at these situations, that’s good. Chances are that you are not an arrogant jerk.

However, if you find yourself saying, “But you don’t know what it’s like for me!” – I’ll give you that. I don’t know what it’s like for you. But I bet I know what it’s like for your colleagues and the employees under you. And I feel awfully sorry for them.