Let’s say there is one person in your team who is a top performer. While being good at their job, the said individual is also known for being quite arrogant towards his peers. Despite showing such an attitude, leaders often find it difficult to reprimand employees who have worked with the company for a long period of time and have proven significant contributions. Nonetheless, if an employee’s arrogant behavior is left unaddressed, it may lead to the establishment of a toxic working environment in which everyone feels uneasy working together as a team.
The ‘know-it-all’ employees are problematic to the growth of a company because they disturb the development and togetherness of the team with a remarkable show of their huge egos. Arrogant employees may be a significant threat to the perception of an employer’s brand and the overall team’s performance. It is often challenging for leaders to persuade these individuals of any new changes in the company because they are resistant to change and have strict beliefs on how things should ideally run. Owing to their capacities and experiences (as well as tenure), these employees can be very stubborn and relatively insensitive to any constructive criticism.
It is true that job-related characteristics such as devotion, discipline, adherence to deadlines, and work quality are important factors to determine an employee’s self-performance. But, we should recognize that attitude is an integral component of self-performance at work. An arrogant employee who is unwilling to receive feedback from senior management will struggle to succeed in a competitive workplace. Those who are amenable to ideas and constructive criticism, on the other hand, will see progress in their job and acquire opportunities for better self-development.
HR leaders need to come up with the best tactics to manage arrogant employees without degrading them or damaging their egos. Here are some tips you can take:
1 . Arrange a One-on-One Meeting
Expecting individuals to change their behavior overnight is almost impossible. In fact, people are not always aware of how their actions affect their jobs and the environment. Thus, managers should take their time when it comes to managing arrogant employees. Leaders can set a time frame for a one-on-one review, such as the next three or six months, to see if the arrogant employee is exhibiting specific adjustments in their attitude.
2 . Be Less Aggressive
In pointing out an employee’s unacceptable behavior during a one-on-one meeting, managers should not exaggerate their comments since it can lead to hostility and misunderstanding. Rather, they should be detailed when criticizing the employee’s negative attitudes, and emphatic when encouraging them to change. Karan Rhodes of Shockingly Different Leadership (SDL) suggested that managers should focus on feedback instead of coaching. An arrogant employee may need a reality check from time to time, thus it is preferable to go from coaching to solicited feedback/360 evaluation. This enables your employees to better comprehend how their actions are affecting the team. A good exercise is “two positives; one negative,” in which feedback is offered on what the individual is doing well as well as crucial defects that are impeding achievement.
3 . Make Consequences Clear
Arrogant employees often believe that their presence and contribution are desperately needed by their employers. These extremely self-assured employees stand in contrast to the company’s ideals and ideas about modesty. Employers should be proactive and provide clear consequences to arrogant employees if they are unable to adjust their bad attitudes at work. If the arrogant employee does not exhibit expected changes in their professional attitude, periodic reminders and a “order for termination” may be recommended.
4 . Keep Track on Their Progress
Once you have had ‘the talk’, do not forget to keep track of their progress. This will help the said employees meet their objectives within the timeframe you have set. Progress can be tracked in a variety of ways, including asking for comments from coworkers, assessing the quality of their work, and holding frequent one-on-one meetings. To ensure utmost openness, make documented observations and reports. Use the reports to evaluate their success at the conclusion of the agreed-upon term.
Angela Morrill from Angela Morrill Leadership & Life Coaching shared her take on dealing with arrogant employees. She said that company culture is established by actions that are both rewarded and accepted. Being specific about desired and unacceptable actions, as well as following through with reinforcement and responsibility, will address any undesired behaviors or attitudes. Whether they are the consequence of perceived arrogance or anything else, improving the culture inside a business is critical.
Dealing with arrogant employees needs persistent efforts, patience, and investment of time. However, by bridging the communication divide with such employees through one-on-one interaction, leaders cannot only help change their behavior but also groom these talents to assume leadership roles in the future. Only with change in behavior and displaying the right attitudes at work, can such arrogant employees scale the heights of success. In the end, patience holds the key to change.