February 14, 2014
Arrogant: adjective; having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one’s own importance; proud
OK. I will stand and admit it: I am arrogant. I can sometimes act superior. Sometimes I feel like I am forced to do so. I get big-headed, especially when we beat our competition to a story. I can’t help that I am proud of what this paper has accomplished during the time I have been serving as editor.
Then, again, I don’t think I’m overbearing, pompous or self-important. I don’t think I am puffed up or act high and mighty. But then, maybe someone listening nearby when I am boasting of an accomplishment would say just the opposite.
One thing is for sure, I have to stand up for myself in this job. I get plenty of complaints about how I do stories, what I put in and what I leave out. That, of course, is to be expected. But I have come to realize that being sure of myself and taking a stand comes off as arrogant to a lot of people.
Lately, the word “arrogant” has been overused. Someone applying for a certain position was overlooked because he was considered “arrogant.” Another is hated because he will not change his mind to our way of thinking. Is this arrogance?
It seems to me that most of the leaders of this city have been given the label arrogant at one time or another. It seems that the term is now dismissive, just like saying, “Oh, he’s not from here,” to dismiss an out-of-towner’s opinion about our town. I think this is a way to sweep the issue at hand under the rug.
I also think it is a coward’s way out. Take this scenario: Someone comes to city council and gives their opinion about a certain issue. A discussion or argument ensues. The person speaking leaves in a huff, never comes back and never pursues the issue further. That is cowardice. Cowards just want their way. Cowards don’t want to work together with anyone because they do not know how to make sacrifices for the good of the whole.
Arrogance says, “My way or the highway.” Arrogance makes fun of someone when they aren’t in the room to defend themselves. It tells someone off, then walks away without listening to the reply. Real arrogance is refusing negotiations when compromise is laid out on the table.
Many good leaders in this town have earned the label of “arrogant.” Apparently, the common belief is, if you say “no” to someone, you are arrogant. If you stand on a principle that you believe is best for all involved, you are arrogant. If you tell someone your side and stick by it, noting research … if you quote someone wiser than yourself … if you lead with any sort of confidence whatsoever … if you actually know more than someone else and show it, you are labelled arrogant.
It is time to put the word “arrogant” to rest in word and deed. So what if we think someone is arrogant. We are stronger than that. We can still work with them. Yes?
There are plenty of bad things happening in the world and we have more than enough work to go around. Let’s put up or shut up. Let’s roll up our sleeves and be willing to work with people we don’t particularly care for. It’s not about us anyway. If we work hard together and focus on a common goal, we can do anything.