Sometimes a co-worker or boss suffers from the HeadTrash of Arrogance. This type of individual may be “often wrong but never in doubt.” Arrogance is often the easiest form of HeadTrash to identify, as arrogant people — who typically also exhibit narcissistic tendencies — are often the first to admit they are arrogant because they feel entitled. The challenge for Arrogant personalities in leadership roles is that they too often believe in their own infallibility and less in the judgment of others.
They might describe themselves as confident rather than arrogant, but those around them understand the difference. In business, politics and life, we all know that such behavior can be a recipe for disaster. Left unchecked, Arrogant leaders can become increasingly isolated and distrustful of others. They develop thin skins, lash out when questioned and tend to be autocratic leaders. They can also wreak havoc on the self-confidence and happiness of those around them.
An example of this is Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who for all his brilliance, was famous for publicly humiliating his subordinates. In more extreme cases, such individuals become relentless and ruthless; their response to critics turns into apparent vengeance. Sound familiar?
Our new book HeadTrash2 (available on Amazon or at Barnes & Noble stores), offers useful tips for responding to this type of HeadTrash, including “don’t take the bait, don’t debate.” We’ve all learned that winning a debate against an Arrogant person is difficult because they will never admit that they are wrong.
When dealing with Arrogant behavior, instead of losing composure and getting worked up by the person’s refusal to back down, try to stay calm and say something like, “Let me finish, you’ll have your chance to speak when I’m done.” Avoid getting in a yelling match that can only lead to an unproductive insult exchange instead of an informative discussion.
Another way to avoid a screaming session is to take a moment and walk away. Arguments can get heated very quickly, so when it gets to a point where both parties are about to say something they regret, call a time out. This gives both sides time to absorb what has been said, and reflect on how to move forward without having a major outburst.