Teach & Serve IV, No. 23 | Arrogance and Leadership

Teach & Serve IV, No. 23

Arrogance and Leadership

January 9, 2019

I would like to suggest that arrogance and good leadership are incompatible. They simply do not mix

The old adage “oil and water don’t mix” is demonstrably true. Head into your kitchen. Find some oil. Put the oil in some water. See what happens. Go ahead. I will wait.

See? What did I tell you?

Oil and water don’t mix. True. Got it.

I would like to suggest that arrogance and good leadership are, likewise, incompatible. They, too, do not mix.

Let us not confuse arrogance and confidence. Confidence is an important quality for a good leader. Good leaders possess confidence. Often the confidence of a good leader comes from experience, a record of good decision making and an understanding of what it means to serve a community. Confidence in effective leaders is founded. It is earned.

Arrogance is another story.

Leaders who are arrogant, who believe theirs is the only voice in the room which carries significant weight, are likely to run into problems. Arrogant leaders do not listen well. Good communication is not their default position and why should it be when they already believe they know what is best in most situations? They are less likely to compromise, to collaborate, to empower. Arrogant leaders believe they are the most critical piece in the school. They believe they have to have a hand in every decision and must be consulted and cow-towed to in every circumstance.

Arrogant leaders rarely succeed over the long term. They may have initial success, especially in schools that may need clarity established around procedures and rules and directions, but their arrogance typically hamstrings them sooner rather than later.

Arrogance and leadership do not mix.

Add it to your list of adages that make sense.