A boss is the primary reason why 44 percent of employees said they have left a job. While this statistic is staggering, it’s not nearly as shocking as the number of leaders who live in denial of their morale-draining behavior. They deny that their skills need improving. They deny that others perceive them differently than what they believe to be true. 

Many leaders know that to increase their influence, they must continually seek to improve their skills. Sadly, not all leaders acknowledge a need for improvement. Their arrogance blinds them to the fact others do not trust them in their role of authority. When leaders fail to see themselves as others do, their professional credibility erodes, and trust is threatened. Employees stop willingly working with them and fail to act upon what they have to say.

Arrogant leaders who refuse to admit there is a problem in their leadership style exhibit these 10 behaviors:

1. Fails to Seek Feedback

Arrogant leaders believe that the skills required to climb the ladder are all that’s needed to keep them there. The arrogant leader believes they already know how they are perceived and are quick to turn down feedback or constructive criticism. They live in a state of denial, thinking they already possess the ability to influence others. On the opposite end of the spectrum, an influential leader knows to maintain and grow influence by proactively seeking feedback and pursuing ways they can improve their skills.

2. Lacks Acknowledgement

Arrogant leaders are quick to share their own accomplishments and achievements while failing to do so for others. This behavior demoralizes employees and strips them of their desire to succeed. LifeWorks reported that 76 percent of employees who don’t feel valued by their leadership are searching for job opportunities elsewhere. Influential leaders know, that the secret to keeping a workforce motivated is by giving credit where it’s due. They acknowledge others’ hard work and accomplishments, recognizing their efforts.

3. Disrespects Time

Prioritizing their time over others’ is a classic trait of an arrogant leader. They are frequently late to meetings, calls and appointments. The arrogant leader will cancel meetings at the last minute or fail to show up, without reason. This behavior sends a message their time is more valuable than others’ time. Influential leaders know everyone’s time is valuable. They work to manage their schedule carefully, ensuring they show up on time to committed events. They wish to set an example for others to follow. 

4. Easily Distracted

Arrogance is present in leaders who are easily distracted. When a leader interrupts a conversation or presentation to take a call, answer a text message or email, they send a message that their attention is too significant to give to the matter at hand. Respectful leaders ensure their undivided attention is given to those who have the floor. They put away their devices and seek to give speakers their concentrated focus. 

5. Challenges Challengers

Arrogant leaders are quick to fire back at anyone who challenges their ideas. Influential leaders know the importance of empowering others to think critically. They know that through collaboration, their talents are fully leveraged and the best results are achieved.

6. Interrupts Frequently

Arrogant leaders don’t listen. They frequently interrupt and stop speakers mid-conversation. The respectful, influential leader knows how not to just listen but how to actively listen. They make strong eye contact, allowing the speaker to finish their thoughts before interjecting. An influential leader asks questions and acknowledges what is shared. 

7. Communication Disconnection

Arrogant leaders fail to communicate consistently. They either unknowingly ramble or fail to communicate clearly in a way that others will understand. There is a significant disconnect in what an arrogant leader says versus what they do. This type of leader is known for attempting to influence others with their words while their body language conflicts entirely. They will stand in a defensive pose – arms crossed and closed off to others. Their gestures often resemble that of a nervous speaker as they fidget with an object, tap their fingers or bounce their legs. They believe they are being perceived as strong and credible while their audience quietly questions the truth to their message. In fact, Kimble Applications reported that 46 percent of employees surveyed said they were not confident the information provided by leadership is a fair representation of reality. Credible and trustworthy leaders understand the importance of communication continuity. They know their body language must match their words to create trust with their audience. They are authentic in their delivery and open in their body posture.

8. Seeks to Blame

An arrogant leader seldom acknowledges mistakes. When receiving coaching, they are quick to dispel the feedback, blaming the situation or scenario for their actions. Influential leaders know mistakes are made and they are the responsible party. They take ownership of wrongdoing and work to make corrections proactively.

9. First to Talk

Arrogant leaders love to hear themselves talk. They believe others are equally enamored with their stories, ideas and desires. This type of leader believes they are smarter, more educated and experienced than others in the room. The influential leader understands that listening is imperative to making sound decisions. They know that by listening first and talking second, they can gather the facts to comprehend better the subject matter being discussed. 

10. Last to Engage

In 2017, Employee Channel reported only 16 percent of employees surveyed felt engaged by their employer. Why? Because arrogant leaders are convinced they have all the answers. They fail to engage their team, especially those at a lower rank. These types of leaders think the expertise and experience that got them to their current level of success far surpasses any knowledge others could contribute to the subject. When the arrogant leader lacks engagement, employee morale drops. Influential leaders engage others in conversation and seek input to decisions. They don’t attempt to make decisions in a vacuum but instead solicit advice and suggestions to make the strongest decision possible.


  • Stacey Hanke

    Founder and communication expert of Stacey Hanke Inc., author of Influence Redefine ... Be the Leader You Were Meant to Be, Monday to Monday

    Stacey Hanke is author of the book; Influence Redefined…Be the Leader You Were Meant to Be, Monday to Monday®. She is also co-author of the book; Yes You Can! Everything You Need From A To Z To Influence Others To Take Action. Stacey is founder of Stacey Hanke Inc. She has trained and presented to thousands to rid business leaders of bad body language habits and to choose words wisely in the financial industry to the healthcare industry to government and everyone in between. Her client list is vast from Coca-Cola, FedEx, Kohl’s, United States Army, Navy and Air Force, Publicis Media, Nationwide, US Cellular, Pfizer, GE, General Mills and Abbvie. Her team works with Directors up to the C-Suite. In addition to her client list, she has been the Emcee for Tedx. She has inspired thousands as a featured guest on media outlets including; The New York Times, Forbes, SmartMoney magazine, Business Week, Lifetime Network, Chicago WGN and WLS-AM. She is a Certified Speaking Professional—a valuable accreditation earned by less than 10% of speakers worldwide.