2 Dangers for Arrogant Leaders

I grew up in an anti-authoritarian time, the 60’s, and lived in a self-reliant culture of farmers in Central Maine.

High self-reliance combined with an anti-authoritarian spirit lends itself to arrogance.

Arrogant leaders turn healthy self-reliance into refusing to ask for help. Image of a person holding their hands up.

#1. Arrogant leaders are self-reliant:

Arrogant leaders turn healthy self-reliance into refusing to ask for help. Arrogance looks down its nose at people who ask for help.

I love giving help. I don’t ask for help.

Not seeking help holds you back. I had to learn that people who seek help aren’t weaklings.

Truth: People who seek help go further than Lone Ranger types.

#2. Arrogant leaders believe they’re special:

I thought I was ‘special’ when I was a kid. I remember going to a country fair in East Corinth, Maine. I must have been 6 or 7. Candle pin bowling was one of the games you could pay to play. I paid and threw gutter balls. I sat on the edge of the bowling alley and pouted until they let me try again for free.

I still grapple with thinking I’m special – above the rules. On a recent hospital visit I gave myself permission to drive past a line of cars waiting for valet parking. I waited in line awhile, but I couldn’t see anyone parking cars.

I decided to drive past the line of people who waited and slipped my truck into a parking spot. I went in and visited my friend. There was no ticket on my truck when I came out.

I drove home feeling pretty good until I reflected on the type of person who thinks they’re better than others.

Truth: Making exemptions for yourself alienates people.

Making exemptions for yourself alienates people. Image of an ostrich squinting.

Symptoms of Arrogance:

  1. Interrupting people.
  2. Disinterest in other’s opinions.
  3. Materialism.
  4. Over-competitiveness – being argumentative. Needing to be right.
  5. Defensiveness – taking failure, criticism, or negative feedback personally.

What symptoms of arrogance do you see in leaders? In yourself?

Still Curious:

How Humble Leadership Really Works

Edgar and Peter Schein on Humble Leadership

The Best Bosses Are Humble Bosses