Overcoming arrogance can be a very difficult task for many people. This is due to their high need for structure and order in their lives. Sometimes this trait shows up in a very strong religious attitude or need. Again, the structure and order placed upon individuals by some religious groups can be strong and binding to the individuals involved. Now, this is not a slam on religious groups, it is a tendency that we have found with leaders that are very arrogant in their approach to leadership and decision making.
The first thing that a person needs to understand is that openness is a critical factor for managing the level of arrogance a person has. It is hard to be open to new ideas, new thoughts and all types of information and be locked in a “I already know that” attitude. The fact that a person is open to all opinions shows a flexibility of thought that the arrogant person does not have. In fact, the arrogant person has a locked in opinion regarding everything in their world. If they have no opinion on something, then to this person, that others opinions is of NO INTEREST to them.
After being open, comes flexibility or adaptability of action and thought. Progressive and effective leaders appear to be flexible in their decisions – especially decisions that impact others. The adaptive nature of leaders shows the ability to adapt to new information or circumstances. This is in sharp contrast to the arrogant leader that tends to ignore new information or circumstances. Taking a position of “that will never work! or we tried it before and it didn’t work then and it will not work now!” Beware of this type of thought or talk. Become open to new information and then think about ways you could use that information to be more effective.
Finally, reduce or eliminate judgment from your thought process. Okay, someone is thinking that leaders have to judge things everyday in order to make the right decisions. I agree with this statement with one major modification. Make your judgments or decisions based upon at least three different methods or solutions. This forces the use of openness and adaptive thinking. Too often, arrogant leaders have already made their decision or judgment without checking for new information that could change the best solution answer. In other words, take the time to look at alternative solutions to every problem – particularly major problems – and resist the temptation to use a preconceived idea or decisions.
If you are having issues with arrogance, have been told by others that you are arrogant, call us at 901-757-4434. We have coached several leaders into becoming more effective by becoming more open, adaptive and less judgmental. We can assist you in becoming a better leader.
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