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How to deal with cultural arrogance | Treatises

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Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind called the book about the collapse of Enron “the smartest man in the room.” Of course, they were ironic. Collapse idea They were the smartest. Despite all the evidence of opposition, Enron’s leaders concealed their fateful financial figures with an overly confident belief that they could turn it around.

We can all be arrogant. Like many human attributes, we have a normal range of self-confidence in our abilities that are essential to our lives and careers. But arrogance becomes a problem when self-confidence develops into an exaggerated sense of personal ability and self-worth.

Consider the following example.

  • Overconfidence in the quality of information available and the ability to understand it. We are presented with incomplete information every minute of our lives. As humans, we focus on a small part of the environment and the rest have the wonderful ability to “fill in the blanks”. The results show that you can miss something you can’t miss, like a clown, on a unicycle pass just because you’re crazy about your cell phone.More simply, the world we perceive is not the world in question, but what our brain is. believe. Arrogant people assume that the information on which their opinions are based is powerful and overestimate their ability to understand and use that information.
  • He is reluctant to search for and accept information that disagrees with his arrogant self-view. “Side bias” or “confirmation bias” occurs when an individual accepts information that supports an existing view but rejects information that disagrees with that position. This is also true if an individual is presented with a counterargument that he or she used at another time.
  • Reluctant to take another perspective. When an arrogant person gives an opinion, it is common to ignore the advice of others. Such a person may be considered arrogant if the dismissal is clearly unjustified by the individual’s abilities, or if the dismissal is considered rude and / or disrespectful.
  • Your own superiority and belief in the contempt of others. Being confident in your abilities and ignoring the position of others can lead to an assumption of unhealthy superiority complex. The perceived force increases the likelihood of breaking the rules. It can also lead to extreme “self-expansion” changes in the language. Use of “Royal We”. I feel only responsible for “elite” status, or in extreme cases other people who are considered gods.
  • Arrogance correlates with the need for power over others. As a result, you may see someone in an authoritative position showing exaggerated self-confidence.
  • Having arrogant members on your team can lead to a “cascade of arrogance,” and members around the arrogant individual get the same tendency. Under these conditions, group consensus leads to incomplete investigation of alternatives, inadequate information retrieval, and selective bias in information processing at hand. These are all symptoms of tissue where arrogance is well established.

Arrogance is especially apparent to senior staff. There, being responsible for decision-making, showing confidence, and saying “as is” is evaluated as a skill. What can we do to prevent or mitigate the effects of such arrogance?

  • Do not go from toe to toe in conflict, especially if the person is in power. I’ve seen arrogance tend to make people reject ideas from others. Just by confronting an arrogant individual, you can be alienated and considered a troublemaker.
  • Use the “pull” behavior. Arrogant people react badly to being “pushed” by demands, threats, and timescales imposed. Pull behavior is a more effective and influential approach. Actively listening, finding commonalities, exploring the position of others, and understanding their pressures and goals are more likely to achieve reasonable compromises than a more aggressive approach.
  • Gently explore the justification behind the decisions being made. Arrogance is built on a layer of unquestionable beliefs about the strength of the information available, and the unwavering belief assumptions are correct. Explore those assumptions. Hypothesis testing; ask, “Why does this fail?” It may encourage better decision making and a more arrogant approach to management and strategy.
  • Some opinions are not important, even for senior management. Create a stakeholder map of what you are trying to achieve. Ask yourself if the person you are worried about is a matter of your success or failure. Do their arrogant opinions really make a difference? Choose to affect only the important ones.

Arrogance is an unpleasant trait to deal with in our career. But it’s a perennial. Learning when and how to face is a long-term useful skill.

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