It’s been my experience and observation that arrogant leaders don’t see it in themselves, but others can readily see it. I have asked myself over the years why success and accomplishments don’t lead to humility and gratitude rather than arrogance and pride. I’m still asking. Dan Rockwell shares two dangers arrogant leaders face.

Originally published by Dan Rockwell

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.

#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.

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?