Are you Arrogant?

How can you tell when someone is arrogant, or just confident at what they do?

It is the difference between Level 5 and Level 4 leadership as described in the book by Jim Collins, “Good to Great”.

We all know people that are downright arrogant and annoying. We have to be able to identify and deal with these people in order to rise above them and succeed.

There is a difference between arrogant and confident.

Confident – feeling or showing confidence in oneself or one’s abilities or qualities.

Arrogant having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one’s own importance or abilities.

There’s a very thin line between confident people and arrogant people, but it is an important line not to cross. Both require a robust belief in one’s own abilities; however, that’s where the parallels end.

Confidence is inspirational; arrogance is annoying.

Becoming confident takes years of hard work and diligence; arrogance requires attitude only. Here are several ways to avoid becoming an arrogant individual.

  • Expand your horizons – get a life outside your area of expertise.
  • Arrive to meetings on time – respect the time of others.
  • Don’t interrupt other people’s conversations – listen to other people’s opinions instead of talking over them. You have two ears and one mouth – use them proportionally.
  • Admit when you don’t know something – even if you are an expert in a field, there are things you may not know. Admit it and then find the answer.
  • Don’t name drop when it is not in context – If it is relevant it is okay.
  • Acknowledge everyone in the room – show interest in others – at all levels.
  • Don’t condescend – show some respect.
  • Don’t blame everyone else – mistakes happen – own up to them.

Some well-known business leaders are undeniably arrogant (Level 4) – leaders that found themselves in the spotlight – often for being arrogant. But most of the greatest influential leaders are confident, not arrogant (Level 5).


Typical traits in arrogant people:

  • View themselves as better than anyone else
  • Think that they know what’s better for others
  • Never admit their mistakes
  • Celebrate the failures of others
  • Get frustrated if the center of attention moves to someone else
  • Get mad when you question their “perfect little world.”
  • Have a “my-way’s-the-only-way” attitude
  • Have a false appeal
  • Enjoy showing their mean side to those that they don’t like

“Arrogance is trying to convince others you’re more than who they know you are.” Bianca Frazier

Arrogance requires advertising. Confidence speaks for itself.

Typical traits in confident people:

  • Trust in themselves and in their talents
  • Are honest about their objectives and potential
  • Are skilled competitors
  • Are not fearful to recognize their mistakes
  • Assist others correct their mistakes

Dealing with an arrogant person can be frustrating and challenging, but it is a fact of life. Don’t fall into the trap of fighting arrogance with arrogance. Don’t stoop to their level, and keep doing what is right.

There is a thin line between confidence and arrogance…’s called humility. Confidence smiles. Arrogance smirks.

Don’t be that arrogant person that everyone despises.