Confidence vs Arrogance: Getting it right as a leader

Apr 25 2024 | Observaciones
A woman and a man sat on a pink sofa with a laptop, discussing work.

Successful leaders must possess a sense of confidence, but far too often this can veer into arrogance, undermining leadership effectiveness. Why? It can demotivate and alienate employees, leading to a ‘whatever’ workplace attitude, low satisfaction rates, and declining performance. So, knowing and understanding the difference between confidence and arrogance as a leader in the workplace is key.

What is confidence?

Confidence is a belief in oneself and one’s ability. Confident individuals are often aware that they are capable, coming across as self-assured, and they are keen to show that they can succeed. At work, that might look like taking on challenges, speaking out within a team or group or working autonomously. Confidence is key to leadership, but what are the benefits of a confident leader?

Benefits of confidence in leadership

1. Taking risks to accomplish high goals

Confident leaders often have a vision, and they are willing to challenge the norm, step out of their comfort zone and take risks to accomplish that vision. They often set high goals because they genuinely believe those goals are achievable.

2. Championing projects

Having confidence as a leader can better allow the championing of projects, allowing them to push for what they believe will be successful, drive the vision, lead the processes, and track performance.

3. Persevere through challenges

Confident leaders are less likely to be deterred by challenges faced in the workplace, and more inclined to deal with them head on.

4. Resilience to setbacks, stress, and change

Having a leader who is self-assured can help in times of stress, change or setbacks. They have a better ability to stay calm, a clear understanding of how to come up with solutions and can take setbacks in their stride.

5. Persuade others to follow

The benefits of a confident leader don’t stop at the individual. Confidence in a leader can inspire colleagues and employees, persuading others to follow their decisions, building both trust and momentum.

What is arrogance?

Arrogance can be described as when an individual displays characteristics like overbearing pride and self-importance. Examples of arrogance in the workplace might be an individual that constantly seeks the spotlight or disregards other team members’ opinions.

The downside of arrogance in leadership

1. Others find it difficult to follow, be inspired, and trust.

2. It can harm workplace culture, affecting employee satisfaction, motivation, and transparency.

3. Teamwork and relationship building can fail.

4. A lack of support can prevent employees from developing and progressing.

5. It can lead to high employee turnover rates.

What is the difference between arrogance and confidence?

While confidence arises through a genuine belief in oneself and understanding their value alongside others’, arrogance emerges through a lack of self-awareness. Arrogant individuals’ ego is often the driver of their behaviour, while self-belief drives a confident leader’s behaviour.

How to be confident without being arrogant as a leader

1. Rather than being shut off to others’ opinions, coming across as a ‘know it all’, be open to external ideas and conversations – these can often drive most creativity and innovation.

2. Know the difference between self-assurance and being consumed by oneself.

3. Know your strengths, but get to know your weaknesses too, and be open about them.

4. Place yourself on a level playing field. Rather than playing the hierarchical card, level with others around you – you can still lead while rejecting hierarchy.

5. Build on your self-awareness.

How to deal with an arrogant coworker

1. Address the problem

Leaving arrogance to grow within a team can have detrimental effects. So, if you find yourself confronted with an arrogant coworker, address the problem privately first. If it continues and it’s directly impacting you or individuals within a team, it’s time to escalate the matter.

2. Stay calm and be empathetic

Dealing with arrogance in colleagues requires patience and empathy. Avoid letting your frustration be a responding factor because this can cause further rifts within a team. Try to stay professional and calm.

3. Avoid accusations

Try to use terminology like “I have noticed…”, rather than direct accusations to try and diffuse any conflict or misunderstanding.

4. Offer feedback

Providing feedback to individuals about anything at work is really important for development and growth – but make sure it’s constructive! An example here might be discussing the impact that taking team members’ opinions on board might have for innovation or timesaving.

5. Consider using coaching

Coaches can have a significant impact on self-development and growth. Consider investing in coaching to help alleviate issues like arrogance in the workplace.

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