Let’s be controversial.
Is (unintended) arrogance holding back your career and lowering your perceived emotional intelligence?
When people over time perceive that you are arrogant, then they tend to not want to deal with you and to seek others who are more trusting.
The Merriam-Webster definition of arrogance is “an insulting way of thinking or behaving that comes from believing that you are better, smarter, or more important than other people”.
Unfortunately, arrogance in actions can at times appear to be “microphoned” and exaggerated, i.e. hubris is “a great or foolish amount of pride or confidence”.
Unintended arrogance can be perceived when you:
- Don’t answer emails.
- Don’t fully answer emails.
- Keep people waiting.
- Don’t follow up on commitments or promises.
- Don’t acknowledge the reciprocal arrangement with others.
Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to recognize one’s own and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behaviour. Arrogance undermines the perception of others that your EI reliable and in play.
However, all is not lost if you believe that others perceive you as arrogant.
There are multiple ways of overcoming the “perceived arrogance”.
One is to communicate in a timely way – showing that you understand. As Covey and others advise, from this trust is built and synergies can result. Poor communication can result from just poor habits – which can be changed. For example, one can “catch” oneself not communicating in emails or communicating poorly and can implement new habits of better communication.
Another is to act in a more consistent way, e.g. answer emails even to advise later communication or to direct to someone else, act to not keeping people waiting and acknowledging other people’s strengths. The “golden rule” remains a good guide.
More experienced colleagues recognise too that often arrogance is a “defensive’ mechanism that may hide an underlying (sometimes unperceived) inferiority attitude or lack of skills. This can be a real obstacle to career progression.
So it is best to deal with perceived arrogance by getting rid of it – and allow your career to continue to blossom!