Confidence or Arrogance?

Confidence or Arrogance?Someone recently accused me of being arrogant. My response was, “No, I’m not – I’m confident.” I won’t tell you who it was but I’ve disowned her.

So it got me thinking about where that fine line is when it comes to being confident as opposed to being arrogant. In other words, as you go down that slippery slope, when does confidence morph into arrogance?

Let’s begin with the Merriam-Webster Dictionary definitions of each.

1. A feeling or consciousness of one’s powers or of reliance on one’s circumstances.
2. Faith or belief that one will act in a right, proper, or effective way.
3. The quality or state of being certain.

1. An attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions.

Pretty clear-cut distinction wouldn’t you agree? A confident person would certainly agree. An arrogant person might argue a point or two and make it known that their definitions were better than Merriam-Webster.

Larry Ellison: Arrogant?
Bill Gates: Confident?
Steve Jobs: A Toss-up?

You’ve run into both types. It’s probably been in either or both: personal and career situations. Personally, I’ve learned a lot from both types of people. It’s easier to learn from the confident person but I can honestly say that some of the best lessons came from the arrogant SOB.

Now, can someone exhibit both traits at the appropriate times and be even more effective?

Is there something called, “Corporate Arrogance?”

Can an animal be confident or arrogant?

What about a sports team demeanor – confident or arrogant?

Here’s the answer to above question about whether an animal can exhibit either of these traits.

We owned several Arabian horses. One of the horses we purchased was named “Arrogant.” The horse NEVER won a single class in any horse show.

My next blog post will deal with the question of whether there can be a “Corporate Arrogance.”

Stay tuned.

Good luck and good networking.


Copyright © 2013 Stew Ross

3 Responses to “ Confidence or Arrogance? ”

  1. October 28, 2013

    Stew, we can always learn from those around us if we have our eyes and ears open. I’ve always differentiated confidence from arragance this way:
    An arrogant person has the need to tell you how good they are (probably stems from a lack of confidence).
    A confident person is happy to tell you how good they are, but only if you ask them.
    I don’t believe that there’s a justification for arrogance in business (or anywhere else for that matter) unless it’s used as a negotiating ploy when no other tactic would be effective.
    An arrogant person leaves a bad taste in your mouth, while a confident person attracts people like a magnet.

  2. October 28, 2013

    Arrogance can also have a nasty side effect–a lack of listening to others, to the market, to customers, not keeping track of technological changes and such.

    I know arrogant leaders who failed to see the realities around ’em…not recognizing the real circumstances of their business. It can be a classic precursor to product disruption.


  3. October 28, 2013

    I agree, it can be a fine line but the beautiful thing about business and life is the moment arrogance steps into your life, something challenging will step in and make you question your confidence which will pull you from the arrogant zone back to at best the confident zone.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.