@valeriehoughton Thanks for sharing, Valerie!
The first is a response to Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer banning employees from working remotely. The second talks about what the author describes as a choice between “freedom and security.” I have issues with the premises of both articles, but that’s not what really irks me about them.
Both authors are dismissive about the opposing point of view.
There aren’t too many things that really bother me about other people’s personalities, but arrogance is at the top of that short list. The inability to consider a different way of thinking handicaps you in your career. When it is a “my way or the highway” proposition, rarely do good things come of it.
Whether you are a manager, an entrepreneur, a solo PR pro, a 20-something worker who is a cog in the machine at this point in her career, or the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, you are well served to always consider others thoughts.
While I disagree with Ms. Mayer (one is left to assume she was unhappy with the level of productivity coming from those workers), I’m glad to see her stick to her principles.
Make no mistake, there is a big difference between sticking to principles and arrogance.
In her article, Penelope Trunk makes completely valid points. Where the arrogance comes in to play is how she defines “success.” In her mind, it appears to mean succeeding at a Fortune 500 company. I have come across so many different business owners able to be hands-on parents and run a successful organization.
Some of them have even taken companies from bankruptcy in early 2008 to billing $500K in 2012. That’s pretty successful, right?
Michael and Nelly Roach of Caledon Virtual sent one son to college, and are raising two more kids at home during that same time frame (full disclosure: Michael and Nelly are friends, bosspeople, and clients of mine). The point is that you CAN have it all, it just depends on your definition of success.
Ignoring my family does not constitute success at any level, as far as I’m concerned.
Arrogance can show up in more ways than just belittling anyone who selects not to be a Fortune 500 CEO (also, the irony of Ms. Trunk’s bio is quite strong).
It can show up in a dismissive attitude of opposing viewpoints.
“Freedom vs. Security” is how Paige Soucie poses her post about starting your own company in your 20s vs. going to work for someone else. I don’t know if she intended her post to come off this way, but to me it reads as: choosing to work for someone other than yourself in your 20s categorizes you as an abject failure.
Forget that the top reasons Ms. Soucie lists as why she wanted to start her own company are frequent vacations, naps, and sleeping in. If I bust my butt at Widgets, Inc. after I graduate from college I’m unable to find out who I really am, according to Ms. Soucie. I find that incredibly arrogant.
To be fair, before I read these two posts I’d never interacted with either author (and that remains true for Ms. Trunk…though I haven’t reached out to her). I have no reason to think either of them are arrogant individuals, and I’m sure both are lovely people.
We’re all guilty of arrogance
(I may be guilty of it in this article…tell me about that in the comments), but what’s important is that we recognize that and fight it. As professional communicators, we have a responsibility to understand and consider every viewpoint. We don’t have to agree, but we do have to listen, consider, and reason.
Sadly, I feel like arrogance is becoming a celebrated quality in our country. Turn on any 24 hour cable news outlet and someone talking will be guilty of it within 30 seconds. Peruse your news feed today and, as you click on articles to read, ask yourself where the author is coming from. An opinion that doesn’t try to understand its opposite is an ill-formed one.
Don’t make the mistake of soaking in the glory of “being right” when you could potentially cost yourself business. Not to mention relationships of all kinds.
P.S. Have you ever seen a more arrogant look than that on the face of that cat? Doubtful.
@bdorman264 Dead. Right. ;)
@mssackstein Couldn't agree more, Starr. Incredibly important to teach humility. Thanks for sharing!
I read her post, shook my head and thought maybe I was just disconnected (despite mentoring students).
I sent her post to 2 under-25 friends; first one's comment was "as soon as I read she was 22, I stopped reading and dismissed it" and the other's response was "she does realize that even if she's working for herself, she's working for clients and is answerable to them, right?"
Unfortunately, I don't think she does.
As we were saying on Twitter, Matt, I think everyone is entitled to their point of view. It's when they insist that theirs, and ONLY theirs, is the right one, that that individuality becomes arrogance. There's no sense of compromise, no understanding (or even an attempt at understanding) others' situations/circumstances... it's their way or the highway. Why would anyone ever want to work with someone like that?
Many people could stand to benefit from reading this blog. Good on you for having the hutzpah to put it out there.
True. RT @mdbarber: Great piece from @shonali today on the arrogance of being right. We all need to watch our tone. http://t.co/DyV3q1h5rl
@mdbarber @shonali I'd rather be happy that right. Took me a LONG time to come to that conclusion :)
There is a lot here in your great post Matt.
It is considered poor ethics and lack of confidence to bad mouth competitors to the customers in the markets you share space in. Customers will lose respect for you if not for your company or product. Shows fear.
Arrogance is actually a top reason you will groom support for the competition. How many people have you met who dislike a team and their fans because they are arrogant? Or change stores because they are arrogant thinking they don't need you as much as you do them. Why give people reason to root against you vs for you. It doesn't make sense. But we do it.
BTW Penelope.....not going there LOL
Is there a chance the Trunk article is hyperbole? I just can't get past the fact that it's so over the top I can't take it seriously. And I've always questioned the 100-work week stuff, the math just seems insane. There are 168 hours in a week. Assuming (!) the people who claim to work a 100 hour week are actually working that whole time (and I mean working: not commuting to work, not eating lunch at their desk while reviewing I Can Haz Cheeseburger, etc.), that leaves 68 hours a week to do everything else, including sleep (let's say 6/hours a night, which is on the barely okay health-wise range), so now you are down to 26 hours for the whole week--less than 4 hours a DAY--for everything else including: meal prep and eating, commuting, showering, etc. I can see highly driven people doing this kind of schedule in short bursts: a month solid, here and there, but as a constant demand for an entire industry: I just don't buy it.
Well that was a total sidebar, sorry. I guess what I am saying is that yes, arrogance of opinion is bad. I'm just not sure that even the authors of these pieces can fully buy into what they are suggesting, so maybe this falls under the advice our moms gave us: when someone is being obnoxious, they are usually trying to get attention. Your best bet is to ignore them.
Awesome post, Matt. While I have no problem with others having an opinion, I have major problems with those who automatically dismiss my (or someone else's) ideas as inferior. Thanks for saying so well what many of us feel and experience on a daily basis.
Great article Matt! The problem to me lies in "quick fix" articles that believe they have to be heavy-handed and incredibly biased ON PURPOSE to provoke discussion and social media sharing. It's great to have an opinion and to open discussion on controversial topics like telecommuting vs. office work, but its foolish to think you have to put on a pompous attitude in order to make an "edgy" point. Great articles with the most intellectual discussions come from detailed research and reference material complimented by your own conclusions. It's definitely a big trend in blogging I see everyday and I hope that more bloggers will learn that arrogance does no equal bravery or uniqueness.
@brad_lovett @kmueller62 @elizabethsosnow @leaderswest Thanks so much for sharing @MattLaCasse #WUL guest post!
Confidence is to leaders as arrogance is to a_s-hats.
I feel sorry for those folks so full of crap (themselves) they can't see past the stench cloud they leave everywhere they go...
I can't believe they stand to be around themselves all day; could you imagine? Poor souls :o
And how about the folks that actually like to spend time with these folks?
I think they fall along the lines of, a_s kisser - yes?
Stay clear of these two types of people if you desire to do world-changing work!
I'm with you Matt. I believe in humility, taking the high road (as Shonali recently did and does) and always asking the question: is it more important to be right or to solve a problem? It's unfortunate that listening has become a rare commodity, as has been holding one's tongue, respecting others' views respectfully and simply relaxing into oneself: it's not necessary to be "right", it's important to be heard and understood. It's not necessary to shout one's own accolades: if others choose to do compliment and give credit, that's lovely...one doesn't need to be one's own gramma's brag book (don't get me wrong: I have no problem with speaking of one's accomplishments with confident, humble pride...we just don't need to shout them through a megaphone from the top of the mountain.)
If someone needs to be right all the time, they're not having conversations: they're simply trying to validate themselves. Great post. Cheers! Kaarina