The self-sabotage that comes with arrogance.

The following is the original and the rewrite can be found by clicking here.

I know people who, without a smirk or a twinkle in their eye, have told me that their arrogance was a positive quality*; I have coached people, who although did not openly admit it, portrayed every quality that comes with the word. I will stress that am not talking about those people who have a healthy confidence in their abilities, their potential or use personal drive as a measure of their success, but rather those people, that in an insulting way believe they are better, smarter, or more important than other people.

I was in a coaching and development conversation one time and asked, "Why are you sabotaging yourself?"

To that he replied, "What do you mean?"

I told him his arrogance and self-righteousness was palpable, particularly in meetings and there were considerations that came with it. I went on to point out why I saw it as self-sabotage:

  • With so little experience and nothing truly proven, he was compromising his credibility; I went on to suggest there is a big difference between believing you can do something and actually doing it. I finally pointed out that "on paper" he was the same as everyone else on the team, and his position of being better had no "data" to back it up. (As they say, "In god we trust, everyone else bring data.")
  • His unfounded arrogance impacted his ability to work with other members of the team and only with teamwork would he be effective in his current position. With his current behaviour of dismissing others, he was limiting his ability to learn essential skills involving teamwork, learning and "playing well" with others.
  • The dynamic he was creating on the team with his behaviour was causing friction and making it difficult for the team to meet its objectives; this was impacting how management was looking at him.
  • Looking at the world through the "rose coloured glasses of arrogance" would impact his ability to self reflect and understand development opportunities for his future success.
  • Although he did have potential and would ultimately could be very effective, I pointed out that my experience was that at any given moment there is always someone smarter, more successful, more talented, richer, etc - Arrogance is a wasted and destructive endeavour.

It turned out to be a great conversation because in the end, as arrogant as he was... he was smarter.


* In all the years I have been coaching, training or developing sales and marketing people, I have never seen "arrogance" defined as a competency; I will go out on a limb here and say arrogance is not a positive quality.