Sunday, January 17, 2010

Arrogance in workplace

The dictionary defines ARROGANCE as “offensive display of superiority, self-importance, overbearing pride, haughtiness, behaving in a superior manner toward inferiors, etc.”

We would have definitely experienced arrogance by someone at some time in your workplace or school or somewhere in the public place. An arrogant person can affect you in some ways, and for workplace, depending on your current working position you may just ignore or may unable to control the behaviour of such people. For example, an arrogant engineer, boss or reputed personalities can make life difficult for all his subordinates, and continue to behave with brazen superiority or for some whom happened to be recently promoted in his or her workplace. You may not be able to do anything because such people may indirectly control your core necessities like passing exams, promotions, salary hikes, sales figures, brand, etc. You may, if opportunity exists, hit back with all your power at unreasonable and arrogant staff. Nevertheless arrogant staff in your office in all walks of life are a pain and will be an important topic of discussion everywhere. Behind the back gossip like, "He or she has become arrogant, but wasn’t like that before" is quite common in most workplaces. However it does not mean people will be arrogant with everyone, but they will definitely not miss an opportunity to demonstrate it on someone they can afford to be rude with, either to impress his superior or trying to overexert his authority. Often the person being branded arrogant may not truly realize they have indeed become arrogant. It is always someone else who can be arrogant, but not we. We rarely think of ourself as being arrogant. But arrogance does exist in various degrees in everyone, including you and me. Now suppose you discover that people who matter to you are calling you arrogant behind your back? Or worse, someone tells you flat on your face that you are indeed arrogant. What will be your reaction? Being branded arrogant is something that nobody would like to hear. It can rudely jolt you from the grand benevolent image you hold of yourself. You could get furious, outraged and vehemently disagree with their opinion, or you can stop and think of it as a wake up call to mend your ways.

Arrogance is like some with body odour that they can’t smell themselves, but others can. But unless somebody tells you openly, or you have a mirror you don’t get to know it. So what are those signs that can make you arrogant? Here are some signs that could make you arrogant over time, unless you take appropriate steps to puncture your bloated ego periodically, which as some point in time, may be hard for you alter your ego.

Knowledge: Your subject knowledge is good and improving day by day. People come to you for advice, tips, guidance. Soon you begin to think you have become an expert and feel others are dependant on you. You have all the answers for anything and everything, or you believe so. And you gradually become dismissive of suggestions and recommendations by others, except yours, of course.

Job title: You have recently got a new title and fancy the job title so much that can create an aura of awe around you. Titles having groovy words like deputy general manager, director, leader, etc., can corrupt a person’s ego faster than a person who is having a mediocre title like manager, though both could be doing identical jobs. Worst still, the manager knows much more than those gotten the new title by sheer luck or opportunity….

Contacts: You develop contacts and connections with reputed people, famous personalities, top brass, etc., and hover around important people. You have the blessings of godfather who worships the ground you walk on, protects you, listens to you and does not make a move without consulting you. So you now feel like a VIP with the power to crush ordinary mortals.

Promotion: You have had a series of successes and promoted and are the envy of others. Everything you do seems like success when your time is just on your side and right. Or you have been very smart and quick in burying or covering your failures and making up stories before anyone notices them. Or somebody is doing the hard work and producing the results, while you are getting the rewards. Frequent success and winning can be a powerful arrogance booster. During temporary lucky periods in life a feeling of Midas touch can get into people’s head.

Question without the Answer: You don't provide solutions to questions anymore at your level. Instead you now answer every question or problem with another question. You develop the “Taichi” skill to invent a dozen smart, tough and tricky questions on the fly that can make others squirm, chew their head off or make them “lose their face” from the scene. Of course, it is not necessary for the arrogant to know the answers, or if answering is unavoidable, you can invent some more jargon filled questions to confuse the other party. In a way, you also finger point with questions “why you do not know what happened?? “

To summarize, the challenge for each one of us is to frequently stop and self reflect ourselves to see if any of the above factors are making us feel with guilt. And we can conclude with a quote from Henry W Shaw, “It is not only the most difficult thing to know oneself, but the most inconvenient one, too.”  Hope we do not see too many of such arrogant staff being bred overtime in our organisation, as it may be detrimental at some point in time, arrogant decision made without going through proper decision and judgement, will likely cause much mayhem to the company than losing one or two arrogant chaps.

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