Many of us begin our adult lives with goals, ideals and big plans. We want to experience all that life has to offer.
What we sometimes lack in our journey, however, is confidence. It’s easy to be nervous about a new job or have anxiety over making new social contacts.
Gradually, we get our feet on the ground, then with each accomplishment—personally or professionally—our confidence grows.
This is always a good thing.
Confident people enjoy many benefits in life: less stress, better performance, healthy conflict resolution, emotional resiliency, a more exciting life of risk-taking, and many of friendships.
Confidence should not be confused with arrogance. Arrogance has very negative outcomes – egotism, exaggerated portrayal of self to others, self-importance, and an attitude of superiority. And when someone is arrogant, it is usually the result of a deep-seated lack of confidence.
Below are some distinctions between confidence and arrogance, with some concrete examples. See how you, your boss, your co-workers and friends measure up.
1. The confident person has faith in his/her ability to take on challenges and will work to meet those challenges.
The arrogant person will brag about his/her ability to meet challenges head-on but will then delegate those challenges to subordinates or get others to do the “dirty work,” then take the credit for their accomplishments.
We have probably all had these types of people in our lives—the boss who brags about all of the successes of his/her department, having done nothing but delegate tasks and bask in the glory. We may have been on committees or belonged to organizations in which the leadership has his/her face plastered all over the media without having rolled up a sleeve to accomplish a single task.
2. The confident person will be realistic about his/her limitations and will ask for assistance when needed.
The arrogant person cannot admit limitations and will “bluff” or cover-up mistakes or lack of knowledge/skill.
It’s such a good thing to be able to ask for help when it is needed. And the confident person never feels diminished by doing so. The big plus is that things get done right.
When the arrogant person has to cover-up mistakes or “bluff” his/her way through a project, mistakes are made, and others are often left to take the blame and clean up the mess. In our personal lives, when we encounter an arrogant person, blame for mistakes is often placed on nebulous things, such as outside forces that could not be controlled.
Failure is never the arrogant person’s fault.
3. The confident person will give credit and praise to subordinates, co-workers, teammates, and friends when a project is completed successfully.
The arrogant person will take the credit and praise from anyone willing to give it and never give credit to others for their part in the accomplishment.
All of us have either had coaches or observed coaches who are arrogant in this way. Some bosses have this flaw. The result of this behavior is low morale and often a lack of loyalty and drive to produce.
4. The confident person doesn’t feel the need to brag.
The arrogant person will spend a lot of time speaking to all of his/her accomplishments, both personal and professional. Even a good golf score could be reason for lots of conversation.
Confident people are a pleasure to be around—they ask questions, they listen, and take a genuine interest in other people.
The arrogant person is unable to allow conversation to veer away from them—when it does, s/he always brings it back around. No one enjoys holding conversations with these individuals, and they become isolated.
They have a constant need to find new listeners
5. The confident person knows that s/he does not have all the answers and looks to others for help.
The confident person is willing to listen to the opinions of others because doing so does not diminish them.
The arrogant person must always be right, and will refuse to listen to another point of view or to facts that may prove him/her wrong.
This being an election season, we are filled with speeches, rallies, and interviews, many of which show the arrogance of some of our candidates. In fact, in our entire political climate right now, we have any number of people who have all of the answers and refuse to entertain opinions of the other side.
Compromise is no the norm with arrogant people.
It’s a good thing to understand the difference between confidence and arrogance—hopefully you passed this test, and most of your personal and professional associates did too. But, no one is perfect. When we find ourselves succumbing to any of these traits of arrogance, hopefully we can be mindful of the little voice inside that reminds us to think of those people we know or have known and get ourselves back on track.
Author: Kerry Creaswood
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: Brook Cagle / Unsplash