Do you notice a growing sense of entitlement?
Stress for Success
April 16, 2013
Is a sense of entitlement a growing problem for you, whether from employees feeling entitled to certain benefits or customers expecting the impossible?
Many would answer with a resounding “yes!”
A sense of entitlement is:
“… a belief that one gets what they want because of who they are vs. what they do. When this rich nation stopped requiring performance as a condition for keeping a job or getting a raise, it created a widespread attitude of entitlement, which destroys motivation, lowers productivity and crushes self–esteem.” Judith Bardwick author of Danger in the Comfort Zone
The following are some of the symptoms:
· Self-focused (WIIFM?);
· Expect others to meet their needs - and w/out appreciation;
o Pout when their needs aren’t met;
· Have an, “It’s not fair!” outlook AKA: “It doesn’t satisfy my needs.”;
o E.g., An employer had to cut costs so stopped providing continental breakfasts for staff meetings. An employee complained, “It’s not fair!” What they really meant was having no breakfast does not satisfy their needs.
· Focus on what they’re owed vs. what to offer;
o Often leads to anger and resentment;
· Past accomplishments should earn on-going benefits;
o E.g., “I’ve been here 20 years and deserve a raise.”
· Excessive blaming and complaining about what they don’t like;
o Gossip to others about their complaints;
· Expect and require excessive praise;
The scary prospect is this condition is dangerously close to a very unpleasant psychological diagnosis of narcissism, whose symptoms include:
· Grandiose self-importance;
· “I’m special!”
· Exaggerate achievements, talents;
· Unrealistic fantasies of success, beauty, etc.;
· Arrogant, haughty;
· Unreasonable expectations of favorable treatment;
· A SENSE OF ENTITLEMENT;
· Other symptoms below in table;
Researchers of this growing social phenomenon are calling the watered-down version of narcissism, “Normal Narcissism (NN).” Symptoms are less obvious with a definitive difference between NN and diagnosable narcissism is that true narcissists don’t care much about relationships. They lack empathy.
Normal narcissism seems to be afflicting more and more Americans.
“As we Americans have prospered … we have lost sight of what made us great. We have become … soft and have created more and more entitlements that allow us to have smaller lives focused on day-to-day satisfactions … that are, in the great scheme of life, not all that compelling. ” Brad Hams, author of “Ownership Thinking”
Not only is the spread of NN bad for us individually, it is very damaging to team work. The “we’re in this together,” becomes “everyone looks out for #1.” Traits of NN are the opposite of what is needed to effectively work as a team. Here are just some of the negative consequences on team work:
- Leads to conflict;
- Those afflicted are less likely to:
- Empathize with others;
- Share credit & reciprocate (a small pie mentality: if you get something positive there’s less for me);
- Give others a break (more judgmental);
- Confuses hard work with accomplishment;
- “I worked hard on this and deserve a promotion!”
- Expect more and more:
o E.g. Close earlier and earlier for holidays;
Normal narcissism is also not good for our country. Compare our founding values with those of NN:
- American founding values:
- Strong work ethic, religious freedom, equality, “can-do” attitude, pursuit of innovation, self-reliance, frugality, etc.
- Get things done vs. admire yourself;
- NN values:
In the next couple of articles we’ll explore the causes of this growing mentality and ideas to minimize it and to encourage better team work.