What is the Difference between Confidence, Arrogance and Cockiness?

I recently ran a workshop showing people how they could increase their executive presence, to have that “wow factor”. One of the attendees called it “media training”. About halfway through the workshop someone said, “I don’t want people to think I’m cocky”, which initiated a great conversation about the difference between being confident, cocky and arrogant.

As a group we decided:

Confidence: Accepting/knowing/realizing you are good at something, that you have a skill or knowledge that others don’t while they have skills and knowledge that you don’t and understanding that doesn’t make you better than anyone else, just different.

Arrogance: The act of offensively displaying conceit about knowledge or skill with the intention of putting other people down. A good example is a football player who catches a pass and then gloats over his opponent. Dude, you’re a football player. It’s your JOB to catch the ball. You beat out the other guy THIS time.

Cockiness: Speaking and acting in a manner that shows you believe you are better than others. Believing that people who don’t have the knowledge, skill or talent that you do are stupid, lesser and below you. An example of this would be the football player who runs his mouth to the press about how amazing he is and what dullards his opponents are.

The outcome of the discussion was that it is absolutely possible to be confident without coming across as cocky or arrogant. It is a matter of intention, speaking in an inviting way rather than in a know-it-all-way, being aware of your facial expressions and body language (which we practiced in the workshop) and making sure other people feel invited to learn from you rather than like your will and brilliance is being forced upon them.

As always I wish you the MOST from your potential,

Doc Robyn

Dr. Robyn Odegaard (aka “Doc Robyn”) is internationally known motivational speaker, executive coach and corporate trainer. As CEO of Champion Performance Development, she works with executives, professionals, athletes, and coaches to help them achieve excellence by sharing active leadership, powerful teamwork, conscious communication, Productive Conflict™ and professional disagreement skills. She is the founder of the Stop The Drama! Campaign and author of the books Stop The Drama! The Ultimate Guide to Female Teams and The Ultimate Guide to Handling Every Disagreement Every Time. To work with her, have her present to your team, request a custom workshop or invite her to speak at your event, please call 302-307-3091 or email her at DocRobyn@ChampPerformance.com to discuss her availability.


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