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Tipping point


We all know the HR thing, you know the one…….the “we’re not taking seriously” thing. The “nobody loves us” thing. And before you click away, I’m not going down THAT path! As posted chez Laurie this week, I only have a finite time on the planet and I’ve wasted enough time on that debate already!

Instead I want to ask you about confidence. And more importantly when confidence becomes arrogance.

I am good at my job. This is a fact. I know this because of the feedback I get and because of the progress I make. One of the things that makes me good is confidence.

When I arrive at an organisation, walk into a room, meet with someone for the first time, I need to show them that I know my stuff, I know that I am good and I know that I can add value. I’ve learnt from working with several CEOs that if you are timid you are done for. If you hesitate, contradict, stumble, mumble, fumble… are not going to get their time, their attention or their backing.

But….and this is a big but (no sniggering at the back please)…..I often get called arrogant. And not once or twice, but on a reoccurring basis throughout my life.

Now I don’t think I’m arrogant. In fact in many, many circumstances and in a large part of my life I am critically lacking in confidence and self-belief. But clearly there is something in the way that I hold myself or behave that makes people think that I am arrogant.

So my question is, is there a difference between self confidence and arrogance and if so what is it? And in some professions, do you need to have greater levels of self confidence/arrogance to survive?

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Sayya26 permalink
    11/10/2009 15:01

    yup- there is a difference between arrogance and confidence. Confidence is the belief or self-assurance in your abilities. Arrogance is when you've exaggerated your competence and importance to the point where you believe you can do no wrong.

    that's my take on it anyway.

    As for needing to have either one given the profession. Confidence is always a plus- I guess in some cases arrogance can come in handy too- but I have to think of an instance.

  2. class-factotum permalink
    11/11/2009 14:49

    It ain't bragging if you done it.

  3. class-factotum permalink
    11/11/2009 21:18

    Arrogance is confidence plus disdain.

  4. Fernandomando permalink
    11/11/2009 21:58

    I think it is a given that people can be self-confident at what they do. Where they are accused of arrogance, this is probably down to a lack of charm.
    Charm ought not to be underestimated. We have all met someone who appears confident, inspires confidence, and everyone thinks 'what a great person'. They are probably no more or less confident than the person accused of arrogance, but they do what they do with style.

    I, too, have to swiftly impress complete strangers. Not just for the continued flow of money into my pocket, but also on behalf of others who have everything to lose. I try to invoke courtesy and charm as further tools to help me do this.

    I recall when we were both younger that I was accused of arrogance at school. This was by fools who failed to understand the meaning of the term. However, one learns from the experience- it is all in the delivery. My claims to my own abilities at school were fully justified by my later academic and professional achievements, yet in youth I lacked a charm and advocacy.

    The difference between confidence and arrogance is easily discovered by reference to a dictionary. The important point to focus on is how to be self-confident with charm.

    And there is my two-penneth

    (by the way, did you subscribe to the view that I was arrogant all those years ago?) 😉

  5. Henry Berry permalink
    11/12/2009 08:50

    As usual HRD, you provoke thought. The result of mine is:
    Confidence = justifiable belief in own past/future positive accomplishments + generosity to aloow others'.

    Arrogance = anxiety about own past/future accomplishments leading to reluctance/refudal to allow others'.

  6. HRD permalink
    11/12/2009 15:49

    @sayya – what if you can't measure ability and it's subjective? How do you decide then?
    @class-factotum – "arrogance is confidence plus disdain" – I like that a lot.
    @Fernando – charm is indeed much underrated. AS for school days – I can barely remember what I thought yesterday….
    @HB – Interesting thought on the dynamic interaction with others. Similar to the fact that good people recruit good people because they are not afraid of the competition?

  7. Corporate Daycare permalink
    11/12/2009 17:10

    Both are others' perception of you…what some see as confidence, others see as arrogance.

    This is also found in the assertive-aggressive continuum.

    My take – you can't make people "feel" a certain way, they do this to themselves…

    However, it is possible to set the tone which makes it easier to feel that you are confident vs arrogant.

    Great question.

  8. HRD permalink
    11/13/2009 09:32

    @Corporate Daycare – I agree I think its a continuum and I actually think that people have different tipping points on that continuum of how they view arrogance vs self confidence.

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