At the recent State of the Union President Obama drew loud applause from Republicans when he began a section of his remarks, “I have no more campaigns to run.”
Departing from his prepared speech, Obama responded to the surprise applause with the unscripted comment, “I know, because I won both of them.” Is that confidence or arrogance? Confidence is an issue and a concept I work with all the time with clients. I have found that people are concerned about appearing arrogant. I am a Communication Coach not a therapist so I can’t speak to the reasons why. Perhaps it is an excuse to not deal with their confidence issue.
I have found this differentiation between confidence and arrogance very helpful and perhaps you will also:
Confidence is the belief that you can solve the problem. Arrogance is the belief that you have nothing left to learn. The Seattle Seahawks were done and just about out in the Packers game on their way to another Super Bowl. Yet they came back to tie the game and then win in overtime. Was that confidence or arrogance? QB Russell Wilson kept repeating when the game was over, “there was no doubt”. Really? To us mere mortals a 16 point deficit at the end of the third quarter and you think you are going to win? Mere mortals may think that arrogant.
Was that confidence or arrogance?
Wide receiver Jermaine Kearse was responsible for 4 interceptions, yet QB Wilson threw to him in overtime for what turned out to be the winning touchdown. He defied the odds. Was that confidence in his receiver or arrogance? No one follows a tentative leader. How does one aspire to be confident and not arrogant? In the recent State of the Union speech President Obama listed strides the country has made, drawing applause for more than 11 million new jobs; reducing foreign oil dependency; lower gasoline prices; “the highest math and reading scores on record” for young students. When Republicans sat on their hands he commented, “This is good news, people,” drawing laughter.
Is that confident or arrogant?
From a communication perspective I was in awe of President Obama’s ability to be comfortable in his own skin . . . in that venue, in front of those audiences, following a November whooping. No matter how thin you make that crepe it still has two sides. We want our leaders confident. Whether the leader is trying to act as your GPS to get you to a destination, or trying to lead a country, we want confidence.
We often cringe from arrogance.
There may be two thin sides, but there are still two sides. You need to define for you what confidence looks and sounds like so you know what your verbal, vocal and visual trip tik is for what you consider confidence and not arrogance. More importantly you know what your audience considers confidence and not arrogance.
Read more posts by Leslie Ungar here. Leslie blogs for JenningsWire.
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