“ I am the greatest” Mohammad Ali said it and it was arguable true since at the time he was the undisputed world champion. It was certainly boastful and probably deliberately intended to get publicity and sell more tickets for his next fight. He was great box office and he knew it.
Arrogance is usually associated with over confidence and a distain for those less able or less committed as such arrogance is seen as a negative trait. But in some areas of life such as in sport arrogance is seen as a positive, present in champions and a factor in making them winners. I have heard coaches refer to individuals as needing to be more arrogant in order to make the most of their superior talent. Successful football managers are frequently described as arrogant for believing their way is the only way and refusing to even consider alternative views. Brian Clough was one of the most successful managers of his era and he was referred to even by those who admired him as ,”old big head” - “ I don’t think I’m the best football manager in the world but I am on a short list of one”.
So could arrogance be indicator of success provided it is balanced out by other traits ? Arrogance without exceptional talent would just be arrogance. But arrogance together with agreeableness, integrity, vision and the ability to inspire would be a strong indicator of future success as a leader. In such an individual it would not so much be arrogance as decisiveness, confidence and resilient .
Blair Mcpherson former local authority Director, author and blogger www.blairmcpherson.co.uk