Why & how corporate arrogance may be dangerous for you…
The definition of arrogant in the Cambridge University Dictionary is unpleasantly proud and behaving as if you are more important than, or know more than, other people. This is an interesting definition that is quite evident in the corporate world, especially when it comes to corporate professionals being arrogant and using their company’s brand name as an extension of their own confidence. This leads to some professionals that work for powerful organizations to use their company’s brand power in an abusive way to customers and suppliers. It is assumed that powerful organizations in terms of brand value can decrease buyer power and supplier power even more, especially for example when the supplier is ‘small’ in a business sense.
Let’s take an example where you are a supplier of a service or product for company X. All of us in business transact with a number of arrogant professionals and – unfortunately – for small companies interacting with them, this can be a challenge. You know that the individual has corporate arrogance when (examples) they do not answer their emails or calls, contact you only when they need you, use abusive and unprofessional language, never say thank you and never give you the benefit of the doubt in case of a problem.
Arrogance is often an attempt by someone with low self-esteem to gain praise from others through false confidence. This confidence can source from the company’s brand, especially when you lack self esteem and respect for others. You can be arrogant when you are Jose Mourinho but its not easy when you’re not. Many of these ‘professionals’ may have a serious problem when and if they depart from such brands to start (for example) something on their own, are fired and can’t find a job or start working for a lesser brand name. This happened to a number of professionals in a number of countries struck by a financial crisis, Greece being one of these countries.
I have a way of assessing such individuals that have corporate arrogance: I ask myself, would this person being arrogant be able to do this if he/she were working for a different brand? is this person actually ‘hiding’ behind their company’s brand name? Would I actually sit down and listen to this person within a different context if the tables were reversed? Would I actually have a drink with this person? (Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO actually uses this question in his selection process to sustain his company’s culture).
The problem is that there are many of these individuals that have benefited extensively by working for such corporations, as a great percentage of them got recruited politically (private and public sector), moved up the corporate ladder “politically”, were at the right place at the right time, had the right passport or contact and are benefiting for a long time.
Try to make sure you are professional in every sense. Respect the work of others, say thank you, be competent and represent the company you work for in a way that praises the brand. Arrogant individuals need to enjoy it while it lasts, as they are in great danger when and if they need to move into the ‘real’ world…
Bite Size Thoughts by Dr. Constantine “Dino” Kiritsis