How to Overcome the Perception of Being Arrogant
Have you been told that you come across as arrogant? Learn about the symptoms, impact, and causes of arrogance. Overcome the perception of arrogance.
How to overcome the perception of being arrogant
By Terry Hildebrandt, PhD, PCC
Do you find yourself correcting others frequently? Do you often find yourself surrounded by idiots? Do you keep a distance between yourself and others? If yes, others might perceive you as arrogant. I often coach smart people who have been told they are arrogant and need to be more approachable. Here are some common symptoms of being arrogant.
Symptoms of arrogance:
- Others describe you as cold and detached
- You think that you are always right
- You dismiss others inputs and feelings as inferior
- You frequently critique others work and ideas and correct their thinking
- You believe your ideas are always better than others
Impact of arrogance:
While being right might feel great, it can undermine interpersonal relationships and damage trust. In reality, no one is always right or has all the information. By not valuing the input of others, you may miss out on valuable insights, solutions to problems, and potential opportunities. No one wants to work with a know-it-all. Over time, you may find yourself with no one to listen to your great ideas!
Causes of arrogance:
- Lack of self-esteem or confidence
Research suggests that many people who are arrogant actually have low self-esteem. By putting others down, they feel better about themselves. This misguided strategy might work temporarily but over the long run, it leads to people avoiding you and inability to influence.
- Being overconfident
While a healthy amount of self-confidence is critical for you to sell your ideas and to get things done, it is easy to overdo it and come across as arrogant. The key is to focus on what you can do for others rather than on yourself and how great your ideas are.
- Intellectual agility with low interpersonal agility
You might have been the top student in your class and be the thought leader in your field, but the real question is : Do others like you? Smart people often overvalue intellect and book smarts at the expense of social and emotional intelligence. Research has found that people want to work with those they like. A winning combination is to be both smart and likeable.
What you can do to overcome arrogance:
1. Listen, ask questions, and collaborate
Being curious about what others think and feel will cause them to feel valued and build trust. Even when you think you have the “right answer” remain open to others solutions. You might be surprised what you will learn!
2. Share credit and build others up
We all depend on the help and support of others to get things done. Freely and frequently recognize the contributions of others. Building others up and sharing credit will cause others to want to work with you again.
3. Don’t correct others unless they give you permission
Be very careful when offering critique and correction. Ask yourself if it really matters if someone has made a small mistake in grammar, facts, or reasoning; and only give feedback if it really matters and you have permission to do so.
4. Seek feedback
Even when we think we are brilliant, funny, or clever, we might be off-putting to others. Ask those that you trust to give you honest feedback about your style.
With a little attention and perseverance, you can change that perception of arrogance to one of humility and openness.