Dealing With Entitlement

Dealing With Entitlement

Posted by in Leadership, The Leadership Coach™

An attitude of entitlement is the poison ivy of team cultures. It looks innocuous enough and nothing much happens when you first come in contact with it, but later its poison burns you and spreads until you’re itching and can think of nothing else.

I travel fairly regularly and my kids started to get used to the idea that every time I’d come home I would have presents for them. Even if I was only away for a night they’d ask, “Dad, what did you get us?”. One time I arrived home and my five year old had clearly been coached by his Mum because his first words were, “Dad, I’m not going to ask you about presents”. I busted up laughing. It’s funny when it’s just a child who is still learning that life isn’t all about then. It’s not as funny when it’s a 35 year old employee though.

You know you’ve allowed entitlement to creep in when the team speak as though everyone owes them. Or when “bonuses” are not so much a bonus as an expectation, and all hell would break loose if they weren’t handed out. Entitlement is focused on rights not responsibilities. It constantly asks, “What’s in it for me?”.

As a leader I’ve found it robs the joy of doing something generous for your team when you’re met with entitlement instead of gratitude. Ironically people are generally willing to do much more for the first who doesn’t act as if it’s their God-given right. Most of us unconsciously resist the self-centered person and help the humble person instead.

Even as a leader I need to watch that it doesn’t creep into my mindset.

  • Am I assuming everyone is here to serve me?
  • Do I forget to thank people for what they do?
  • Do I have higher expectations of others than I do of myself?

The time to dig it up is when it’s small. Let’s nip the attitude of entitlement in the bud.

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6 Responses to “Dealing With Entitlement”

  1. Josh

    27. Sep, 2013

    Really appreciate this topic. Entitlement has in many ways become a defining cultural value in our generation and as such can seep into each of us including our Leadership teams.

  2. Paul Andrew

    27. Sep, 2013

    Thanks Josh, I think you’re right. And it’s often easier to see it in others than to see it in myself!

  3. Don Cooper-Williams

    29. Sep, 2013

    I cannot agree more with the points that you have made. I am interested in the ’cause’ that energises this effect. It is linked to the post modern baseline of having ‘rights’ that define you, rather than leaving them behind for a much higher way of thinking and acting. None of us are free unless we consciously have a pattern of arresting our thoughts, requests and attitudes daily- so guilty, yet having a promise of improving by practicing a daily inspection- very helpfull Paul:-)

  4. Paul Andrew

    02. Oct, 2013

    As always, great insights Don.

  5. Shikibu

    10. Dec, 2015

    There are some fascinating ptoins in this article however I don’t know if I see all of them middle to heart. There’s some validity but I will take hold an opinion till I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we wish more! Added to FeedBurner as well.

  6. what is sr22 form

    28. Sep, 2016

    Stay with this guys, you’re helping a lot of people.