The Seven Pitfalls of Arrogance in Leadership

If you haven’t already, you will likely experience an arrogant leader. Arrogance is a treacherous leadership failure, often leading to disastrous consequences for the leader and their team. While confidence and assertiveness can be valuable traits for a leader, there’s a fine line between self-assuredness and arrogance. When arrogance shows up in a leader, it will profoundly impact their ability to make sound decisions, build effective teams, and foster a positive work environment. These seven outcomes happen when arrogance dominates a leader’s personality.

  1. Poor Decision-Making: The most immediate consequence of arrogance in leadership is poor decision-making. Arrogant leaders believe that their ideas and opinions are superior to those of others, often dismissing or ignoring valuable input from their team. As a result, they make decisions in isolation, which leads to a skewed perspective and suboptimal outcomes. When leaders disregard the collective wisdom of their team, they make mistakes that could have been easily avoided with a more inclusive decision-making process.
  2. Eroding Trust: Trust is a cornerstone of effective leadership, and arrogance quickly erodes trust within a team or organization. When leaders consistently display a lack of humility and a disregard for others’ perspectives, team members become disillusioned and may question their leader’s judgment. Losing trust creates a toxic work environment and hinders collaboration, as team members become reluctant to voice their concerns or ideas.
  3. Poor Team Dynamics: An arrogant leader often results in poor team dynamics. Team members feel demotivated or disengaged as they feel their contributions are not valued or respected. This will lead to a lack of cohesion, increased turnover, and decreased team productivity. Leadership aims to build solid teams, and arrogance is counterproductive.
  4. Resistance and Pushback: Arrogant leaders often face resistance and pushback from their team members. As team members feel increasingly alienated, they may be more likely to challenge their leader’s decisions openly or covertly, potentially undermining the leader’s authority. This resistance often leads to conflicts and a lack of cooperation, making achieving the organization’s goals difficult.
  5. Isolation: Arrogant leaders often isolate themselves from their team or organization, believing they are above criticism or collaboration. This isolation will lead to a lack of feedback and an inability to adapt to changing circumstances. Ultimately, it hinders personal and organizational growth.
  6. Diminished Learning: Arrogance stifles a leader’s ability to learn and grow. A humble leader is open to feedback, willing to admit mistakes, and constantly seeks self-improvement. In contrast, an arrogant leader views learning and self-improvement as unnecessary, hindering their professional development and limiting their potential.
  7. Decline in Organizational Performance: When arrogance becomes a dominant trait in a leader, it will decrease organizational performance. A toxic work environment, diminished trust, poor decision-making, and reduced team dynamics all negatively impact an organization’s ability to achieve its goals, meet deadlines, and adapt to changes in the business landscape.

The presence of arrogance in a leader has far-reaching and detrimental effects on both the leader and the organization. Leaders should be mindful of their behavior and strive to cultivate humility, open-mindedness, and a willingness to collaborate. Building a culture of trust, teamwork, and respect is essential for achieving success and fostering a positive work environment. By recognizing the dangers of arrogance in leadership and working to overcome it, leaders will pave the way for more robust, more effective leadership that benefits everyone involved.


Rich Jones is the Founder/Principal of Leading2Leadership LLC. Before starting his strategic planning agency, he spent over 20 years in leadership roles in the financial services sector. Before becoming an executive in the financial services sector, Rich was an entrepreneur, building and selling two businesses and working for early-stage start-up companies in executive roles in marketing, business development, and seeking investment partners. With more than three decades of experience, he brings innovative thought to companies and executives. Rich published “Leading2Leadership, a Situational Primer to Leadership Excellence.” The book is available on and was designed to be used as a book study for leadership development programs; it breaks leadership skills into manageable situations for discussion and reflection. Rich works with credit unions, CUSOs, and vendors, designing digital, data, culture, marketing, and branding transformation strategies. In 2014, Chosen as a Credit Union Rock Star by CU Magazine, and in 2018, Rich received the Lifetime Achievement Award from CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council. A Marine and graduate of Colorado State University, Jones shares his expertise at

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