Entitlement has become something of a buzzword that gets tossed around and even mistakenly applied in a number of erroneous ways. Many times, we think of someone as being “entitled” when they simply have something we do not have, but want. In truth, entitlement is the belief that you have earned (or are entitled to) something that you have not earned. Therefore, in many cases, the person who labels someone else as “entitled” is often actually the entitled one. Because they believe they deserve something someone else has, but have not actually done what it takes to earn the thing the other person has. Entitlement is a particularly destructive quality in leaders. Here are three reasons why.
Entitlement literally keeps you from leading
By its very nature, leadership is embodied by movement. You can’t follow a parked car. Entitled leaders generally see their role as one of giving orders or making demands, rather than of setting an example for others to follow. They believe their job is to tell others what to do. To speak something means to dictate. The person that does something that enables others to follow them is a leader. The person that tells others what to do is – quite literally – a dictator.
Entitlement undermines your own authority
One thing that entitled leaders fail to understand is the difference between position, title and leadership. A business or company can give you a title and a certain amount of authority to make certain decisions. The authority to lead, however, can only be given by those that choose to follow. Like the old saying goes, if you think you’re leading, but no one is following, you’re just out standing in a field.
Entitled leaders create entitled cultures
“Do as I say, not as I do” leadership rarely (if ever) succeeds. About the only time entitled leaders don’t create an entitled culture is if they are not actually the leader and the real leader is setting a better example. If you feel like your workplace is riddled with entitled behavior and you are the boss, the first place to start addressing it is with the “man (or woman) in the mirror.”