I ask this after having an interesting discussion with my nana. She lives in a senior (ages 55+) apartment complex where one of the assistant managers at apartment complex “talks down” to seniors. She said the manager consistently challenges the residents’ intelligence, belittling their competence in multiple ways.
For example, one resident reported a broken microwave to which the manager rudely asked, “Do you just mean it’s dirty? Is it clean?” The manager also said, “You have to enter the time for it to work,” as if this resident didn’t understand how to properly work a microwave.
“She has to show that she’s the boss,” my nana had said. “Very arrogant.”
This led me to think about the many folks in positions of authority throughout businesses. How many managers and supervisors out there show that they are the bosses, knowingly and unknowingly? How many treat their workers as if they are inferior and/or incompetent?
So, below I’ve outlined just four ways for you, as the boss, to tell if your arrogance might be (or is) showing:
1. Talk down to employees. Take note of your speech and choice of language when talking to (or referring to) your employees. Do you talk down to workers and use language and phrases that insinuate they are inferior to you and/or others in positions of authority? This could be anything from saying, “You entry-level worker” or “those people” when referring to workers whose positions fall beneath yours on the organization’s hierarchical chart. Or even refusing to acknowledge a worker by name.
And sometimes, it’s not always what you say, but how you say it. Workers can tell if a manager is on an “ego trip” from his or her tone of voice and body and facial expressions. Remember, every employee has a part to play in ensuring the success of your company. Every employee is important and should be treated with respect.
2. Always challenging employees’ ideas. Every time a worker approaches you with a new idea or project, do you disregard it? Do you counter your employees’ ideas, coming up with reasons why they won’t work or why they aren’t good enough? If so, you may be showing your arrogance.
Some managers are not very open to new ideas from their workers because they don’t perceive them as intelligent enough or capable of coming up with a “worthy” idea or project for the team/department. Remember, your employees are a part of your team for a reason; they have the necessary skills (and bring something unique to the table) to complete the job.
3. Lack of trust
Do you constantly go over your employees’ assignments, checking for every little error? I once worked for a small publishing company as an editor (take note that I edit for my day job). The owner constantly re-checked my and the other employees’ work, often taking hours that could’ve been used for other projects. Although she hired us, she did not trust us to do the work like she would.
Don’t act like your workers haven’t been trained. They obviously had the skills and experience to land the job. A lack of trust only causes more (unnecessary) work for you.
4. Overstating your title. Have you ever met anyone who constantly had to remind you of what he/she has? “I have a PhD.” “I went to Harvard.” “I am the community manager.”
Let me spell it out: A-n-n-o-y-i-n-g.
Don’t allow your arrogance to blatantly show by stating, restating and overstating your title and or what you possess. I’m sure your workers know your position’s title and status—very well.