When Does Arrogance Turn To Ignorance…

Your Choice, Choose Wisely...

Sitting in Paris at a street side cafe got me thinking about this day as the general rudeness of the Parisian populous struck me at this moment as being more so of an affixed arrogance, with even a bit of a defiance if you will to just the “being” of another [person]. Thinking to myself, maybe this was driven out of the lack of greater “personal spaces” as are found in less “populous dense” geographies as I’m use to in the State’s, or maybe it’s driven by primal feeding instincts from deep within our lizard (amygdale) brains. As anytime you combine a high concentration of people in a limited area with a regulated food supply it goes without question that it will lead to a level of “caginess” as our subliminal instincts take over to drive our survivalist actions. Also, least it seems I’m only picking on my Franco-Parisian friends, as I’ve also set in New York City and received the same treatment so it’s not just a “French” thing.

However what interests me is where the line between arrogance and ignorance is drawn as at least to me each are thin black lines with a large gray band running solidly up the middle separating the two. As what gets me thinking of this other then my Parisian dinner host is some recent work done revolving around “rudeness” or applied “arrogance” in that researchers placed staged actors into restaurants and one set [of planted actors] was told act arrogant, while another set was instructed to play a passive role.
After a bit of a show, other patrons who were unaware of the planed ruse where asked a set of controlled questions about their co-patron as whether they were a leader or person of importants (indicating that they were an implied leader) and results clearly showed the researchers the perception of rudeness or applied arrogance signaled “implied” leadership abilities at least at first blush to the people around them.

However one has to agree even if quietly there isn’t a big surprise here as most of our high profile leaders have been arrogant (rude) SOB’s in most cases so where is the line? Where does applied arrogance break down into plain ole ignorance thus what was gained in steps is lost in whole.

For starters, let’s look at what arrogance is, as deciphering it will help in understanding the leadership line in the sand if you will. As arrogance’s main component is the “taking” of implied liberties as in crossing socially regarded norms. These “rule” breakers can easily be seen to be “leading” as most people are fearful of social norms as they are what creates “social acceptance” and stepping out of the box and taking risks is a coveted attribute found in most leaders.

Yet this stepping out is what creates the social prowess and thus the genesis of leadership if performed correctly. However when the mark is missed, and it’s done “wrong”, such as stepping across too many “norms” or the “wrong” norms at the “wrong” times only serves to display ones ignorance. Because as Kid Rock says “it aint bragging if you can back it up“. As it’s presumed that when one through the expression of arrogance’s cross the line, it is done via “education” and not ignorance thus building an implied trust model between leader and followers.

So it’s here where we must tread with care as over stepping to far becomes a simple expression of ignorance which has a tendency to break down into “inability” with implied trust lost we have now crossed the line and it’s a long way back…


About Joseph Campbell

As a strong believer in the fact that "people work for people", it has been a life driver to better to understand the complexities of the various aspects which drive efficiency within this axiom, especially the concepts of leadership. Supporting this, I have been fortunate enough to having experienced this as leader on a global basis over the last decade and half. During this time it has been clear there are three core drivers being Life, Leadership and Economics.
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