RSS The Battle of Who’s Most Entitled

Allow me to take some liberties with those in this world – including myself at times – who feel they deserve something or feel they’re too important or too busy to be bothered. We all know people who feel a strong sense of entitlement, whose expectations for perks or rewards goes well beyond what might normally be expected. I see this in the workplace as well as in social environments. And, I’m not just talking about individuals in positions of leadership; this characteristic is not based on a particular demographic or social class. It’s merely behavior that some individuals have cultivated or reinforced over time.

While these are obvious examples, a sense of entitlement comes in many forms.

Case Study I: Supervisor
Suppose you hire a new member to your team. What if this individual requires more coaching than you typically are willing to give? An entitled supervisor may conclude that this new employee is needy and un-trainable.

The supervisor may be expecting the new employee to learn the job the way others have, and doesn’t feel it important to change his or her teaching methods in order to get the desired results. In other words, the supervisor feels “entitled” to let the new team member struggle so as to avoid drafting a potentially more useful training program.

Case Study II: Employee
Likewise, a new employee may display a sense of entitlement by expecting his or her supervisor to put training above the supervisor’s other priorities. It’s not the responsibility of a supervisor to make an employee successful; it’s only their job to help team members become educated and skilled enough to do the job required of them.

While I dislike this quality and make a conscious effort to prevent this behavior in myself, I find it easy to spot in others. Pouting, getting mad, whining or yelling are all immature reactions to a situation, none of which belong in a healthy workplace. When I do encounter an individual with this tendency – someone who all too often “pulls rank” to get their way and avoid a particularly difficult task – I shrug my shoulders and laugh it off.

To me, both the supervisor and/or the employee are shirking their responsibilities. The end result is a lack of trust, diminished confidence and reduced performance – precisely the worst outcome! The behavior speaks for itself and ultimately does not foster growth and productivity in the workplace.

I hope I have illustrated that a sense of entitlement transcends rank – both employee and supervisor can fall into its trap. The best advice I can give is to learn how to spot entitlement behavior because the presence of such behavior can be one of the differentiators between a healthy and unhealthy organization.

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3 Responses to “The Battle of Who’s Most Entitled”

  1. Nik Stice, Employee of Pacific Continental Bank says:

    Mitch,

    I appreciate your candidness in this post. I feel as a young professional, who wants to be exceptional and achieve great things; I must learn first what a “healthy organization” looks like and how to be a healthy influence as well.

    Recently, I read a great book called Leading Quietly: An Unorthodox Guide to Doing the Right Thing by Joseph L. Badaracco, Jr. For young, enthusiastic and highly motivated professionals this is a good book, because it teaches principles of a “Quiet Leader” such as restraint, modesty and tenacity.

    Having recently graduated from the University of Oregon I can tell you confidently I never heard a professor state many of us will be leaders in our organizations, but “most effective leaders are rarely public heroes. These men and women aren’t high profile champions of causes, and don’t want to be. They don’t spearhead ethical crusades. They move patiently, carefully, and incrementally. They do what is right – for their organizations, for the people around them, and for themselves – inconspicuously and without casualties.”

    Honestly, the statement above was so counter intuitive to what I have been taught that I actually had to read it twice! The author goes on to solidify his argument for quiet leadership by using this quote by Nobel Peace Prize winner Albert Schweitzer,

    “Of all the will toward the ideal in mankind only a small part can manifest itself in public action. All the rest of this force must be content with small obscure deeds. The sum of these, however, is a thousand times stronger than the acts of those who receive wide public recognition. The latter, compared to the former, are like the foam on the waves of a deep ocean.”

    I believe this is why most companies have annual retreats or employee parties to recognize the accomplishments by those who make up the driving force behind the success of their organizations. Thank you for your leadership.

    Sincerely,

    Nik Stice

  2. Mitch says:

    Thank you very much for your response, Nik. While I have not read the book you refer to, I can tell it espouses similar leadership ideals as those I discuss in my blog.

    Best wishes to you and others who read this blog as we continue our personal leadership journeys.

    Mitch

  3. Emil Kuligowski says:

    Don’t simply retire from something; have something to retire to.
    Our tasks are the presentation in our capabilities.

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Home About Archive Mitch HagstromMitch Hagstrom
Executive Vice President
Chief Banking Officer
Pacific Continental Bank

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