A common complaint within various businesses, and even outside of them, involves the Information Technology (IT) department's members having arrogant attitudes; but is arrogance always the case or is it something else?
Certainly those without knowledge on a subject can get an impression of arrogance when having it presented by someone with greater insight, but is it really arrogance being detected? The fact is sometimes what may be perceived as arrogance can often times be something very different; the pride in being able to share, the joy of having knowledge on a subject, and even sometimes confidence in that knowledge can very easily come off as arrogance when the presentation fails to properly convey as much.
The truth is, even actions taken with the most righteous of intentions can result in catastrophe when confidence, pride, or joy are misinterpreted for arrogance; and as difficult as this may be to keep in mind it is crucial when it comes to proper representation of the IT department and technology in general. Not unlike many other fields and sciences; IT has found and encountered many scenarios that schoolbooks and training may have told were impossible, only to find someone with lesser knowledge has found a way to divine a possibility from as much. Anything from IP address schemes, software usage, and even physical impossibilities such as network cabling and switch management could serve as suitable examples. However those with true understanding of the technology might be the first to point out just how many reasons the impossible made possible can result in problems. While the end-user thinks simply "If it's not broken, why fix it?" the insightful technician may very well see a breaking in the future that could be avoided, or better isolated with their input. Making for a great example of a righteous intent, easily straying into the realm of arrogance.
Hind-sight is often better than present-sight; and sometimes as an IT professional it pays to refrain from giving input until thinking out the best approach for any given scenario. Probably one of the most difficult things for a technician to do is fully grasp where their customer is coming from, when the customer believes they are making perfect sense. A good approach to most situations encountered is to think clearly on the objective being sought, and using that as a balancing point of reference. Rather than indicate that using proper networking methodology is simply better because it was what had been taught; instead look for a good example of a problem the lack thereof could present and provide that being certain to point out the negative impact it could have on the desired objective. While there are times this can be handled very easily in this manner, the IT professional could still very well come off as being arrogant in their approach. Listening and thinking carefully about your approach to a subject matter can often help in overcoming as much; asking questions of the client can be very helpful as well with including the customer and dissolving arrogance impressions. The simple fact is, it's not always what you say but how you choose to say it.
Confidence is a major ingredient in the recipe of being perceived as arrogant, not only in the subject of discussion, but even the confidence of the client in their IT professional. Not unlike auto-mechanics or doctors, some of the key to solution comes from a confidence in the professional providing assistance. When the customer has faith in their technician and that what he has said will help correct a problem, the solution can be much easier to achieve. While a touch of arrogance may sometimes instill that faith; it can also result in a breakdown of communication. On the other hand, if the technician is uncertain and it shows, this can result in drawing out the time to resolve the issue.
As technology spreads across the globe, the demand for those with knowledge in the field continues to increase even for as simple as working with that technology has become; but when arrogance becomes a greater threat than the trouble to do-it-yourself the recognition of that demand can begin to dissolve. While it may have made sense only a few decades back to refrain from sharing too much information, with the advent of major search engines like Google™, the need to refrain from sounding arrogant and instead coming across as knowledgeable is only further reinforced.