Pride and Arrogance in Business: Where is that Fine Line?

Have you ever worked with any organisation where someone always had all the answers for everything, even if they weren’t paying any attention to the questions asked? Have you ever been that person yourself? It’s human nature for success to breed confidence and sometimes PRIDE and sometimes ARROGANCE; however, allowing that pride to veer into arrogance is extremely dangerous in business. It’s hard to build a team-first culture when key members of the team think they are above the rules and above the rest of the team.

Always remember: “The leader leads and the rest follow”. Slowly and gradually, arrogance penetrates into the team and eventually into the organisation which starts collapsing. Success gives way to complacency.

Arrogance is actually having excessive pride over one’s or a particular group’s accomplishment to an extent wherein we believe that our abilities are superior compared to others and that success would have come sooner if we had done it alone.

Pride and arrogance are two different emotional states which are divided only by a fine line. Here’s how to spot the difference between the two and not to enter the field of arrogance:

  1. Confidence vs. Insecurity

People with pride are confident ones. They know what they do. They are usually masters of their professions and they always like to do things perfectly. They don’t want to mess around and they definitely can’t stand time-wasters.

Arrogant people often use their arrogance to cover their sloppiness and inability to cope with the task. That’s how they always wear a different face in front of others. Deep inside, they know they are not able to do the thing they are doing. They are full of doubts. It is scientifically proven that arrogant people are prone to shame.

  1. Acceptable vs. Unacceptable Language or Tone

People taking pride always talk wisely. They very well know where their pride is coming from so it is natural for them to speak positively and inspiring to others and there are two main reasons for this:

  1. They always talk from their own experience.
  2. They regularly work on themselves having full control of their thoughts.

Arrogance has its seeds in an inability to control the mind. So if an arrogant person wants to make an impression on others he will most likely use strong language, including swearing which is somewhat unprofessional and unacceptable too.

  1. Narcissistic vs. Normal Personalities

A psychological study carried out on children showed that children who were told by their parents that they were better than others developed a strong narcissistic personality. This mainly applies to arrogant people.

While people living with pride have high self-esteem they lead gentle and fulfilling lives and they still think they are as good as others. They prefer treating others with equality and warmth.

  1. Owls Frightened Dogs

When does a dog bite? It bites when fearing someone because it wants to protect itself. And that is the same situation when some people use their arrogance for attacking others, especially in the moments of fear of losing something.

Similarly, people with pride have the attitude of owls with their inner peace. They know how to control their emotions so they seem to be always in control of the situation they are in.

  1. Hard Workers Opportunists

Studies show that people having pride are achievement-oriented viewing their hard work as the key to their success. They highly rely on themselves whilst always prepared to listen to other people’s advice.

On the other hand, arrogant people view success as pure luck so they stay restless and they are always on the run for the next best opportunity. This may not always help them which may enhance of their level of aggression and arrogance.

Bottom Line

There is absolutely no harm in taking pride in whatever we do in life. Let’s constantly work on being the best version of ourselves but never cross the line to arrogance by thinking somebody else is any less important than us just because s/he might be doing a ‘seemingly’ less important task or having a lesser IQ or otherwise.

As long as we give 100% to whatever we do in our lives, we can become the very best men or women taking pride in whatever we do. It’s important to stay vigilant because arrogance does destroy a successful business or team and above all, us the people from the inside out. When one of our team members feels they’re more important than the business itself and their behaviours go unchecked, the whole ethical framework will collapse and suddenly, the rest of the team may not be so willing to engage and share their own ideas.


Muhammad Sajwani
Muhammad Sajwani
Muhammad Sajwani is a management consultant and a corporate trainer working in the capacity of Managing Director, Evolve HR Consulting. Muhammad is amongst the prominent management practitioners in Pakistan and brings along thirty years of local & international experience as a practitioner of Appreciative Inquiry philosophy. His ability to relate with people from diverse backgrounds and occupations is his core strength. He is a leading inspirational speaker and change catalyst specializing in unleashing the human genius through Leadership, Creativity and Change Management. As a facilitator he is able to excite peoples’ imagination and inspires them to strive for extraordinary achievements. He encourages participants to focus on their ability to become what they desire by leveraging the power of human passion that is guided by a set of principles, values and ethics. His uncanny intuitive capacity helps him recognize team dynamics and build synergies. This has made him a sought after trainer for ‘Team building’ programs. Muhammad has been instrumental in helping organizations come to terms with organizational changes like right-sizing and business process re-engineering. His innovative approach & high personal competence encourages people to not only accept change, but also to excel in it. Over the years, Muhammad has developed many branded training products which can be customized to meet specific requirements of companies operating in different countries & cultures. Muhammad has diverse experience in conducting strategic & management development programs, conferences & events for organizations across sectors. Muhammad has been engaged as senior consultant and facilitator with a multitude of for-profit and not-for profit entities such as Aga Khan Development Network, Hospitality companies, Medical Institutions & many others. Muhammad Sajwani holds an MBA in Marketing and has worked for finest organization within and outside Pakistan i.e. Telenor, Jazz and Grameenphone, and travelled extensively & regularly attends courses in Pakistan & abroad.

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