This article is about discouraging the ignorant from becoming arrogant.
Ignorance is easy to mistake for malice. Those who make mistakes due to ignorance are tricky subjects to communicate with as it is required they be educated first, then corrected. Should you label what they wholeheartedly think is correct as wrong prior to educating them, their tendency to double-down is high. Your reaction can have a direct effect on how fast and effective mistakes made by the ignorant are resolved.
Don’t Prolong How Long They Have To Wait for Knowledge
Noticing someone ignorant to the truth in a certain context – whether socially or professionally – creates an imbalanced power dynamic between the two of you. You hold the power of truth at the specific point of discovering someone’s ignorance to it.
That moment isn’t something you may have paid attention to before, but it is seductive. Having that “up” on someone oblivious to a certain fact around the matter at hand can encourage you to tease them with it, prolong its revelation, and withhold it for some time in an effort to hold onto the minute level power you have in the situation at hand.
Try to educate the ignorant upon discovery of their ignorance. The longer you wait between labeling them as wrong and educating them as to why that is, the likelier that they will develop ill will against you and the situation at hand. Their defensiveness will grow, and they may even be tempted to double down on the incorrect path they’ve set forth on out of spite.
Don’t Use Their Lack of Knowledge Today Against Them Tomorrow
A sure-fire way of discouraging a subordinate, student, or others ignorant to information that you wield is to use that fact against them. Reminding people of what they didn’t know before is effective in discouraging them from unveiling what they don’t know in the present moment. The risk you take in using someone’s ignorance against them, is them not unveiling what they’re ignorant to in the future.
A habit of reminding others of their prior blunders will tighten your own tunnel of ignorance in regards to managing them. They will yearn to make everything seem okay around you should you make it a point to hold their prior ignorance over their heads. They’ll be likelier to double-down on unfactual assumptions and actions which stem from them.
Maintain a habit of forgetfulness as to the ignorance individuals around you have shown. Reward any attempts at combating ignorance in individuals with a sense of amnesia surrounding such happenings. If the individual in question has trusted you with a revelation of their ignorance, pay back the favor by pretending it never even took place. Allow them to save face in front of others in the future, and allow them to live down the times they showed their ignorance to you.
An important metric to abide by is how keen the individual in question is in learning and righting any wrongs when you first educate them on information they weren’t privy to. In your first few interactions with such an individual, maintain an observatory perspective and continuously reward their attempts to learn with confidentiality regarding their past ignorant ways.
Save Them From Learning the Lesson the Hard Way
Sensing arrogance from the ignorant leaves a particularly bitter taste in one’s proverbial mouth. Unrealistic self-assuredness begs to be punished and corrected. Try not to fall victim to the negative feelings that observing the ignorantly arrogant brings about. A yearning to punish such individuals is often born; especially if we hold any responsibility in regards to their output or performance in the particular setting at hand.
There are some who opt to allow others’ mistakes to happen naturally and lessons to be learned the hard way. Though the lesson the ignorant individual learns may be poignant, their realization that you could’ve helped but didn’t will be painful. They will lose trust in you being there to support them in the future, and will feel alone in the tribulations that their future ignorance puts them through. This is a dangerous feeling to foster within others especially in group dynamics.
Do your best to prevent the pain such individuals feel should they learn the lesson the hard way. A far more effective management strategy is to attempt to save them from the consequences of their ignorant mistakes even if they elect to ignore your warnings and lessons.
Should they go on to learn their lesson by arrogantly ignoring your advice, they will come to realize that you were there to support them prior to that lesson being learned. An approach of looking out for their best interest without being controlling will make them realize that you have their best interests at heart without infusing your own pride into the equation.