Confidence vs Arrogance

You know this person: smart, focused, competent, but so modest about their activities and achievements that they just become too invisible get stuff done. Humility is a virtue, but too much of it gets in the way of effective delivery of even great work.

And then you know that other person with whom you'd rather minimize the time spent in the same room. Once you can breathe out again after resurfacing from the brag-storm into the company of your real friends, you probably refer to that guy just as an asshole behind his back.

Of course, sometimes we get to admire the quiet genius. And sometimes a person truly has a reason and the right to be full of themselves. But even in the latter scenario we still admire those rightful overachievers who remember the Earth they come from, don't we?

There is a continuum between these endpoints of a visibility scale. As on any scale, there is a sweetspot area (never really a single point, depending of personalities and context) where you want to be, as a leader, a professional and a human.

In a series of random chats pondering about this balance with some friends we came up with two labels to calibrate your personal sweet spot: the trick is to stay between the states of confidently humble and appropriately arrogant:

As a Northern European technologist I feel the left end is way cooler. But life (especially in Silicon Valley) is full of those who master the right, too.

Joel Peterson shares with his Stanford students a concept of wording personal "mantras" to change own leadership behaviours. I guess this could be an example of one in practice.