We all know arrogance when we see it—I certainly do. I have a method to employ if I get a hint that a client may be over-confident: Because during an hour's meeting (or two), it's easy for some of my clients to mask a trait or tendency, and sometimes I need to coax it out.
Unfortunately, most arrogant people do not see their swagger as a failure. In their minds they replace arrogance with confidence. Confidence is great and charming, whereas arrogance goes hand in hand with sleeziness.
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Getting someone to admit they're confident is easy, and from there (for some) it's a short putt to arrogance.
All I do is ask a few questions.
- Have you ever failed at something?
- If yes, tell me about it
- If no, what do you think would happen if you did?
- What are you really, really good at?
- If I ask 5 people to start in a group with you, what one thing would you be teaching them in the first year?
- Are you confident in your abilities?
- More or less than most?
- Tell me about your most recent job-related performance feedback.
I will ask any one or two of those above questions if I get a hint that my client may be too secure in their ability to succeed. Clients' answers will vary, but there are commonalities for those who think too highly of themselves. Body posture is a key indicator, too.
Overuse of Lingo
Too much lingo means either:
A) My new client has been over-coaching themselves in preparation for our meeting.
B) They are trying to talk over my head to impress or intimidate me.
This cause is usually the latter, which is a good indicator of arrogance.
However, this indicator is a little trickier to analyze because there are valid reasons for a client to be certain that coaching is right for them and their self-development. What I usually find is the arrogant people are big on talk and appearance but small on action and lacking inner-confidence.
Self-confidence is defined as the ability to trust your own decisions and instincts. People that posses a great amount of self-confidence are often successful, focused, and flexible individuals who can handle any situation life may throw at them. A self-confident individual knows that he or she has the potential to take on the world and come out on top. The actions of a self-confident individual naturally make people that surround them intensely aware of this characteristic.
People that are self-confident prove it by their actions, not by their words. If you find yourself constantly trying to impress friends, family, coworkers, or superiors by stating your self-confidence, you have clearly crossed the line into arrogance. The differences between these two attributes vary tremendously, but the line regarding the actions and attitudes of these attributes is thinly veiled. Quite often, individuals who are usually remarkably self-confident cross the line into clear arrogance without knowledge and typically without consideration.
If your family, friends, co-workers, or superiors see you as arrogant, all the positive attributes of your self-confidence has been summarily thrown out the window. Rather than trying to impress individuals through your words, impress them through your actions. The old adage, "Actions speak lounder than words" is quite evident in this case and should be regarded literally.
Who are you more likely to trust: An individual who makes outrageous claims and boasts or an individual who can prove he or she can successfully execute the task at hand?
A self-confident person seems more trustworthy and will be highly valued because they are able to get the job done without feeling the need to brag about a completed project or a new conquest. If you're not sure whether you come across others as a self-confident individual or an arrogant person who makes self-aggrandizing claims but cannot produce the declared results, be sure to check with your friends, coworkers, or family members.
Carefully select your audience members because choosing certain individuals with biased opinions, such as a parent, may skew the results of your survey.
If you are finding that you come across as arrogant instead of polished and self-confident, rethink your method of approach. Instead of bragging about your personal conquests, find a way to spotlight someone else's work. Take on a task that requires group input and begin working as a full-fledged team member.
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