Being Confident in the Workplace

Communicating Confidence Versus Arrogance

You’ve probably dealt with people whom you’ve wanted to whop upside the head because of their arrogant attitude. Yet some might argue that they’re simply confident in their job and “know what they know” and need you to understand they’re a credible source of information or help.

They’re wrong.

I don’t mean they’re wrong to be confident or wrong to establish credibility. In fact, feeling confident and being credible prove valuable characteristics.

But there’s no reason to confuse confidence and arrogance. It’s easy to distinguish between the two groups of people: We like confident, credible people. We dislike arrogant people.

Confident people . . .

  • Are willing to listen to ideas from others.
  • Ask questions. They don’t fear looking “dumb” or “out of touch.”
  • Give praise where praise is due.
  • Are genuine. What they say and do in front of others matches what they actually think and feel.
  • Smile naturally––real smiles with the eyes involved.
  • Are approachable.
  • Reveal their failures as well as their successes.
  • Talk about what they’ve learned from others.
  • Give credit for work and ideas contributed by others.
  • Feel comfortable with their station in life—with what they know, what they can do, what they have, and who they are.
  • Show passion about and often promote products, services, companies, ideas, and others they like.

Arrogant people . . .

  • Are haughty.
  • Smile artificially––with the mouth only.
  • Display “smug” body language: uplifted chin, smirks, eye rolls, crossed arms, arms raised behind the head.
  • Sound snarky. Their favorite communication tools––whether live or posted on social media––are sarcasm, innuendos, and thinly veiled “humorous” barbs.
  • Remain in “broadcast” or “talk” mode in most conversations.
  • Tune out or monopolize most meetings—whichever serves their purpose.
  • Acknowledge the accomplishments of others only rarely.
  • Seek attention for themselves and promote themselves far more than others.

Sure, it’s important for speakers, customer service reps, authors, consultants, leaders, or technical specialists of any kind to establish credibility with their clients, readers, fans, or followers. After all, who would want to waste time working with someone who didn’t have confidence in their expertise or couldn’t help solve a problem?

But few want that help or information badly enough to bear putting up with arrogant behavior. Maybe it’s worth a call to your own customer-facing staff to see which attitude greets you.

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