Blind Arrogance in the Workplace

Brad G. Philbrick
3 min readOct 22, 2020

Blind arrogance was a term that I came up with to describe a group of people in my workplace that I thought was original. I define blind arrogance where one is so arrogant that they are blind to the consequences that will result from their dealings.

To be sure, I googled the phrase “blind arrogance.” I quickly found out that my words were not original. Blind arrogance is discussed in the Christian Church and in politics. Then I discovered a great read in the November 3, 2012 issue of Harvard Business Review. Scott Anthony wrote a compelling article, “How Arrogance Can Blind Your Transformation Efforts.” Mr Anthony writes:

“An acquaintance of mine (let’s call him George) is an acknowledged though leader on a topic that the senior-most executives at a particular company had placed high on their agenda. But the middle managers who contacted George to give a talk balked at his regular speaking fee, instead treating him like “a silicon chip supplier.” This unnamed company had been the gorilla of its market for the past two decades and had gotten used to throwing its weight around, particularly with suppliers that wanted both the positive reputation effects and the volume that came from serving a market leader.”

The net result was the company didn’t get access to George’s knowledge, and he was left with a bad taste in his mouth about the organization.

This exchange highlights one of the biggest barriers to incumbents dealing with market transitions: arrogance.”

I have witnessed blind arrogance in healthcare. Healthcare executives who feel and actually believe they are above the law and exempt from expectations that others are expected to follow. HFAP (Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program) came to a small community hospital for its inspection and consideration for renewed accreditation. The plant manager argued with HFAP requirements on cleaning the facility. The surgery nursing manager had the audacity to argue points on proper reporting and show disregard for the HFAP representative’s position and the recommendations that were being made. The infractions were numerous. It comes with no surprise that the hospital had a dismal evaluation. And did the leaders at this facility accept their evaluation with humility and a sense of remorse? No. They were defiant and bitter towards the accreditation committee. Now that is blind arrogance.

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Is their a “cure” for blind arrogance? Yes, but it is up to an individual to see it in him or herself to make a change. I have never seen where one is able to effectively change arrogant behavior of a colleague in the workplace. Blind arrogance is toxic. The outcome is never positive. Continued blind arrogance yields nothing but untoward results.

Are you in an organization that is led by blind arrogance? If you are so unfortunate, hone your resume and seek to move on to a new environment where servant leadership, humility, and integrity are the cornerstones of their successful enterprise.

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Brad G. Philbrick

Brad earned a B.S. degree in Pharmacy from North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND.