The top 10 percenters (T10p) are confident - not arrogant. They don’t feel the need to overstate their achievements (because they have them). They hire people who they consider smarter than they are and are not intimidated. They don't differentiate levels - they treat everyone with the same respect.
Why do I say this? Because I have seen the pattern over and over for the last 20 years. Leaders who are confident about their abilities don’t usually need to tell everyone how great they are and all that they have achieved. That doesn’t mean that T10ps don’t tell others what they are doing, or what have achieved. It just means their communication style is confident not arrogant.
Interviewing thousands of leaders over the years I have seen quiet a difference between confidence and arrogance.
- The T10p confident leader will stick to their views because they believe in them. However, they don’t dismiss other views as irrelevant, they will listen and explain their position. They have belief in themselves and belief in their abilities. They have self-confidence and nothing to hide. They speak with passion and pride.
- Arrogant leaders will send the message my way or the high way. I am right – you are wrong. Often the arrogant manager will be hiding their weaknesses and the arrogance is used to mask their shortcomings, so they are not found out.
In both scenarios the leaders are smart. However, the arrogant leader knows how to work the systems, manage up, and usually moves on before the storm hits. The T10p confident leader embraces the systems, works with other managers and leaves a solid legacy with an inspired team.
T10p confident leaders are clear about what their achievements have been. They will talk about what their goals were, how they got there, and give credit to those involved and who helped with a specific result. A great leader in the business world would find it hard to achieve results on their own, otherwise they would be a sole trader.
For example, a T10p confident leader will state achievements in the following way:
- I developed strategy xyz which was implemented this year with the help of my team. As a result we lifted sales by 20% and customer satisfaction by 30%, I am really proud of my team as they have worked really hard.
An arrogant leader will say:
- This year I developed and implemented a strategy that significantly lifted sales and customer satisfaction. I believe my numbers will increase even more next year. (In this case there is no mention of percentages which is always a red flag as T10p confident leaders know the numbers and always give credit to their team where credit is due).
T10p confident leaders want smart people working for them and are not afraid to hire the best. Arrogant leaders want good people, but not as good as them. This is because they are not confident enough to share the lime light. T10p confident leader surround themselves with people who could fill their shoes if need be. They don’t worry about being out done and celebrate the fact that they have a good team around them.
The T10p confident leader doesn’t differentiate levels (that is for the arrogant leader). A true leader will be respectful of everyone, from the receptionist to the board room. They know that true stakeholder management does not discriminate or alienate. A good example of this was the Richard Branson’s apprentice TV show (Quest for the Best) from a few years back. He picked the new Apprentices up from the airport disguised as an old taxi cab driver in London. A few of the Apprentices made fun of him while two of the others offered to help him with the bags and engaged in conversation. When they arrived at the mansion Richard Branson pulled his masked off and identified himself, to the surprise of the Apprentices. Guess who was sent back in the taxi to the airport? A hard lesson on being nice to everyone - you never know who is behind the mask. Not to mention it is the right thing to do.
I see examples every day where someone has been rude or dismissive to a colleague/stakeholder/industry contact and even clients, only to have this back fire on them later. It is amazing how many people, these days, make derogatory comments about someone they work with. This can have a negative effect on their career journey in the future and they won’t even know it. T10p confident leaders treat everyone the same.
I continually tell people that often what will knock someone out of the process for the promotion or a new job is their past or present behaviour to an internal stakeholder. Being rude or arrogant will always come back to bite you and you may not even know it. Some people call it Karma.
Are you having difficulty working with an arrogant manager or stakeholder and need some help? Let me know and I would be happy to provide guidance. I invite you to share your experience.
Stay tune for part three of the T10p series - Team Management and Making Quick Decisions.
About Judith Beck
Judith Beck has placed hundreds of executives over 20 years and is Managing Director of Financial Recruitment Group, Founder of Financial Executive Women and Chairman of Eon Mentis. Judith is a key note speaker on various subjects, such as How To Be A T10p, Stakeholder Management, Building your internal and External Brand to name a few.