Confidence vs Arrogance: A worry you just don’t need to have

Throughout my years of coaching I’ve worked with many people who wish they could be more confident. All sorts of things can hold people back from being able to embrace a more natural confidence and surprisingly one that comes up a lot is the fear that if they become more confident, they will in fact become arrogant, and this is something they really don’t want to be perceived as. For those of you that hold this concern let’s clear that up by exploring the difference between confidence and arrogance and why you just don’t need to have this concern. 

Here are some of my thoughts and observations. 

Confident people believe you are OK. 

Confidence is about respecting and valuing yourself and others. It’s not about being better than, or superior to, or getting one up on someone or something, this is more about arrogance. Confidence is about knowing your strengths and talents, and how you can use these to your advantage or the advantage of the team but not at the expense of others or in spite of others.

Confidence goes hand in hand with humility.

You may be confident about your strengths and talents, but you also recognise where you have flaws and you put your hand up when you make a mistake. You recognise that you are never going to be perfect and you’re open to feedback and opportunities to learn and grow. Arrogance is where somebody believes that they know it all, can do it all by themselves and need no-one and nothing else to help them develop their ideas, or achieve what they need to. They sweep any shortcomings aside as unimportant, or fail to recognise the significance of any perceived weakness. They may also get defensive when their skill or reputation is questioned. Confident people socialise their ideas, they invite others to comment and feedback because they see the value in learning from others.  

Confident people are not always confident – and they’re OK to admit that. 

Even people with healthy dose of confidence can experience moments of self doubt or crises of confidence where a pep talk from a friend or colleague is exactly what they need to get back on their A game. Arrogance shows no vulnerability, there is a need to be perfect and un fallible in the eyes of others. Vulnerability is seen as weakness and if you’re weak you can’t be better than others…….

Confident people demonstrate respect

Confident people demonstrate respect when they are listening to someone. Even if they disagree with what is being said or have a difference of opinion, they respect the that the other person has a different perspective. Arrogance tends to lead people to believe that the other persons opinion is inferior to theirs and they are disrespectful of that persons ‘model of the world’. This also tends to lead to arrogant people having a crowd of people who they deem ‘acceptable’ and a crowd of people who just aren’t. There is a demonstrable lack of respect for others when arrogance is in play.

Confident people put others at ease

It’s not pleasant being around someone who is arrogant. By the nature of them needing to feel superior they are often quick to judge and put others down. Confident people don’t test others, they cheerlead people on and want them to succeed, they recognise there is enough space in the room for everyone and by this nature, confident people are comfortable to be around. 

You really have nothing to fear if you’re keen to develop your confidence. The key’s to sticking away from arrogance and staying on the path of confidence are: 

1: Respect others – we all have different views, there is something to learn from everyone. It’s OK to be right, it’s not OK to believe you are right without listening to or considering others. 

2. Be self aware – recognise your strengths and your value, be aware of where you want to grow and what your limitations are

3. Show some genuine vulnerability – people like people who are like them and we are all vulnerable at times. Being able to show this says “I am human, I am like you, I am OK”

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