Arrogance - an attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions; an insulting way of thinking or behaving that comes from believing that you are better, smarter, or more important than other people
In the business, entertainment and sports world arrogance and leadership go together. Confident even cocky describe a successful leader. In the church most people say that they want a confident yet humble leader. Many Christian organizations and ministries position themselves to attract confident leaders but because they are largely results-driven rather than spirit let they created arrogant leaders.
The problem with that is that Christian ministries and organizations unintentionally move toward arrogant and proud leaders who may one day fall from the pedestals the ministries put them on. This often results in a scandalous, embarrassing position for the leader and the ministry or organization.
Proverbs 16:18-19 NIV Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Better to be lowly in spirit along with the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud.
How Can You Tell if Your Leaders are Arrogant or Humble? ( from 10 Signs of Arrogance in a Spiritual Leader by Sue Schlesman )
Arrogant leaders talk about their accomplishments all the time, their relationships with important people, and their perfect families. They are not vulnerable or transparent. Instead, they name-drop, obsess over self-promotion, and put and/or use their families and position as something for people to admire and follow.
Psalms 94:4 NIV They pour out arrogant words; all the evildoers are full of boasting.
Arrogant leaders don’t lose a discussion, argument, or debate. They have the last word and the final say with limited reference or deference to scripture. They may ask for input or feedback, but they don’t use other people’s ideas or take critique seriously. They respond to disagreements with sharp responses instead of graceful discussion.
John 5:30 NIV By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.
Arrogant leaders criticize and belittle other ministries, ministers, or laypeople. Through passive-aggressive behavior, sarcasm, or intellectualism, prideful leaders jab at anyone who threatens their reputations as successful and popular leaders. They feel competitive toward other leaders, so they feel the need to put down those leaders. They also withhold praise for their peers and their followers because nobody quite lives up to their expectations.
Psalms 101:5 NIV Whoever slanders their neighbor in secret, I will put to silence; whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart, I will not tolerate.
Arrogant leaders aren’t coachable. They don’t use mentors, counselors, books, or conferences to help them grow personally; instead, they absorb information for themselves and learn about what’s wrong in the world and who’s to blame for it. They like to lead change or point out problems from the sidelines, but they struggle to take responsibility when things go wrong on their watch. Instead of building their ministries through their own work arrogant leaders prefer to attach themselves to popular people for a quicker rise to the top.
Proverbs 13:10 NIV Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.
5. Singular Perspective
Since arrogant leaders believe that their perspective is always right, they fail to see alternatives. They don’t like considering other viewpoints or hearing input from a variety of sources. They want to be left alone to do things their way. Balancing and honoring multiple perspectives and thus sharing the glory is avoided. .
Psalms 131:1 NIV My heart is not proud, Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me.
6. Hoarding Power
Self-absorbed leaders have difficulty empowering their followers to carry out God’s vision. They hoard or micro-manage tasks because it’s easier to transfer blame than it is to transfer ownership or risk the success of an important task. Arrogant leaders hoard power and dole out useless titles and responsibilities. They build a close group of loyal peers to champion their causes and manipulate group approval. They struggle to transition out of their roles because transitioning roles means giving up control.
2 Timothy 3:2-5 NIV People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
7. Loves Attention
Arrogant leaders can be introverts or extroverts. Regardless of personality, people love attention because it makes them feel more loved and secure. Attention-seeking is a dangerous goal for a minister of the gospel, as it will interfere with the ability to stand for truth, implement mission, and love the unlovely. Excessive platform-building, social media obsession, and flattery are all signs that spiritual leaders want attention for themselves.
Galatians 4:17 NIV Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate you from us, so that you may have zeal for them.
Even though arrogant leaders might use committees or consensus to generate and implement goals, arrogant leaders stick to their own ideas most of the time. They often take credit for their people’s work but do not take responsibility for their people’s failures. They are unable to admit when they feel overwhelmed, unqualified, or failing. Under the title of strong leadership, they keep all their plates spinning because they can always blame someone else if they drop one. But God promises that the proud will eventually bear the disgrace of their actions.
Proverbs 11:2 NIV When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
Arrogant ministers center their ministries around themselves: around their personality, personal goals, and fears. While it’s true that every church structure adapts to the strengths and weaknesses of its leader, if a ministry revolves entirely around one or two central leaders, then everyone ministering there will worry about how their work is seen by the leaders instead of serving as an offering to God. The ministry will become dysfunctional, cultish, and idolatrous. When leaders are not encouraging and mentoring individuals to grow the ministry according to their own gifting and calling, those leaders will view themselves as irreplaceable. As the example of a perfect servant leader, Jesus modeled spiritual leadership better than anyone else in Scripture. And he transferred his position and ministry to flawed humans to grow and mess up as they willed.
2 Timothy 2:1-2 NIV You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.
Arrogant leaders struggle to maintain personal boundaries. They feel entitled to privileges and exceptions; they cite respect, rights, and spiritual authority as the primary reasons for their protection from personal, spiritual, moral, or ethical accountability measures. They feel they have earned the right to set their own rules for themselves. Leaders without boundaries attach loyalty and trust to privilege, which hampers accountability and opens them up to spiritual attack and moral failure.
1 Timothy 3:2-3 NIV Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.
Arrogant leaders fear public opinion instead of fearing the Lord
Their pride and insecurity cause them to focus their attention and energy on themselves, on the outward perception of their worth instead of the inward condition of their character. Be careful about following arrogant leaders.
Proverbs 8:13 NIV To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.