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Confidence vs. Arrogance: Where’s the Line?

by | Mar 4, 2024 | General Career Advice

In the dance of professional conduct, confidence moves gracefully, turning heads with its poise and assurance. Arrogance, on the other hand, stomps around and demands attention.  

No one wants to be thought of as arrogant. In fact, many of us fear it so much, we go to extremes. We end up hiding in the shadows for fear that any attention at all will get us labelled arrogant. But that’s counterproductive! There is a happy balance we can strike if we approach things thoughtfully and recognize where confidence ends and arrogance begins.  

Confidence is quiet yet striking. It’s that assured smile when you tackle a new project or the calmness with which you handle criticism. Confident people don’t feel the need to brag, but they don’t shy away from discussing their achievements when the time is right. They shine but don’t blind. They elevate others and share the spotlight because they understand that most achievements are truly a team effort.  

Arrogance is noisy. It’s the unsolicited advice that feels more like a command, or the constant need to remind everyone about your achievements regardless of timing. Arrogance doesn’t inspire; it intimidates. It often manifests out of deep insecurity. Arrogant individuals stand on a pedestal of their own making, looking down on those around them—all in an effort to feel better about themselves. They crave the spotlight for validation, and they’ll burn through relationships to get it. 

The Balancing Act 

Our job, as professionals, is to find the right balance where we demonstrate authentic confidence without verging into arrogant territory.  

It’s important to note that self-promotion isn’t inherently arrogant; in fact, it’s necessary for career advancement. It’s all about the how you do it. Confident people share their accomplishments from a place of genuine enthusiasm. They want others to learn from their work, leverage their skills, and be inspired.  

Arrogance alienates. It hoards the spotlight and casts shadows on everyone else. Confidence means understanding that your self-worth isn’t diminished by the success of others. There’s enough spotlight to go around.  

So, where is the line? It’s drawn with the ink of empathy, respect, and the genuine intention to add value, not just volume. When you walk into a room, aim to be the person who makes everyone feel like they can be their best selves. After all, confidence is not just believing in yourself—it’s believing in the collective strength of the team. 

Confidence attracts because it’s inclusive and empowering. It’s the foundation upon which professional relationships are built and opportunities are created. Arrogance repels because it’s exclusive and self-serving. Let confidence be your guide. Step into the light and share it generously!  

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The Career Success Library is a convenient, affordable online learning center for career advancers including administrative professionals, emerging leaders, and anyone else who wants to leverage the power of ongoing professional development. 

About the Author

Chrissy Scivicque is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and certified Professional Career Manager (PCM). She is an author, in-demand presenter and international speaker known for engaging, entertaining, educating and empowering audiences of all sizes and backgrounds. Learn more here.

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