Too many arrogant engineers in your office lately?
To be a full-fledged engineer is a feat achieved only by a select few.
Being a certified engineer entails continuous dedication, persistence and tenacity, on top of limitless creativity, imagination and ambition. As such, engineers take much pride in their profession.
Many engineers exude a “can-do” attitude, swag if you may, which they bring with them everywhere they go – including their place of work. Their desk is full of “mission accomplished tasks” and accolades. But sometimes, their attitude are bigger than what it should be.
Years of intensive education and myriad surmounted adversities have armed engineers with the confidence that they hold the solution to any perceivable problem.
At times, however, this beaming confidence can come off as arrogance, especially on the part of their non-engineer peers or line managers.
Engineers must clearly demarcate the line between arrogance and self-confidence. These are two completely opposing characters.
Being confident is an essential trait of employees, because it is one of the factors that drive their performance at work.
On the other hand, being arrogant is frowned upon, and is usually the quality that rubs other employees or a company’s management the wrong way.
There is a sea of gap between confidence and arrogance, and in an office setting, where perception can spell the difference between career advancement and stagnation, engineers better walk on the right side of that gap.
Here are some tips to be confident at work without appearing as arrogant:
Never fake it
Some people swear by the adage ‘fake it till you make it’. Well, we say that it is a trap.
Engineers who are trying to fake confidence at work are the ones who often come across as arrogant, because what they show is not what real confidence looks like.
For example, they will raise their voice in a meeting, because that’s what they think confident people do. Or they will want to push their opinions and choices despite contrary empirical data, because they think confident people ought to make a grand stand.
As engineers, you no longer need to fake confidence to impress people at work. You already have it. It will come out in the way you think, express your thoughts, or present your designs or engineering solutions.
You do not have to fit the mold of whatever you imagine confident people to be, because as an engineer you have an air of confidence that is uniquely, naturally yours.
Recognize that you are not the best in everything
Engineers, with their natural talents and educational formation, have the ability to invent or derive solutions to many challenges. They have the facility to come up with innovative methods of doing things faster and better.
To say that engineers are important members of any company’s workforce is the understatement of the century. Hell, they oftentimes hold the most crucial position in any company!
For example, in a solar power manufacturing firm or a consumer electronics company, product development engineers play the biggest role in turning concepts into products that people actually buy and use. Electrical engineers, on the other hand, make sure that facilities have enough electricity to continue manufacturing and achieving production and delivery targets.
But sometimes, no matter how good engineers are, they have to take a step back and let their colleagues shine in certain situations. Some engineers have to learn to recognize their limitations and acknowledge the capability of others.
Arrogant engineers have to understand that conceding the stage to other employees does not, in any way, diminish his experience, value or talents. Confident engineers see their colleagues as collaborators and, as such, are always ready to see the best in them.
Confident engineers do not regard their co-employees as competitors in a race but as teammates in a relay towards achieving their company’s goals.
Confident engineers do not resist vulnerability.
Arrogant engineers do the opposite while true engineers who are truly confident in themselves admit to their mistakes, acknowledge their accountability and welcome responsibility.
Being confident is not tantamount to being perfect. In fact, confidence is the foundation that makes it okay for engineers to drop the ball a few times and still know that they will be fine. Confident engineers do not put the blame on others or on the system to save themselves from a predicament.
Confident engineers trust themselves that no matter how challenging a situation is, they can resolve it and emerge as better, stronger people.