The Entitlement Epidemic: “I Deserve” vs. “I’m Responsible”

Entitlement is the belief that I am exempt from responsibility and owed special treatment. – John Townsend 

The Entitlement Label
If you have read or watched anything in regards to the rising generation in the workforce, you have probably seen the word ‘entitled’ at least once. It seems to me that the predominant notion right now is that generation (fill in the blank) is entitled, which makes them difficult to work with, and if they don’t have an attitude shift, the economy will collapse. But, what if that notion is wrong?

Which Generation am I?

I recently listened to a podcast with Dr. John Townsend which covered his new book The Entitlement Cure. His book acknowledges how often the newest generations are labeled as having a spirit of entitlement. Out of curiosity, I did some research to see which generation I am categorized under. I was born in 1983 and, based on which research center you ask, could be Generation X, Generation Y, or a Millennial. From a leadership perspective, I find this interesting because this means that most of the people I work with fall into one of those generations that are most often labeled as entitled. 

Which Generation is the Entitlement Generation?

After some more reading I noticed that there is an argument about which generation is the most entitled. I think that this is the wrong focus. I would argue that we all suffer from personal moments of entitlement that we can either chose to indulge or not. To expand that from the individual to a generation, each generation deals with moments or individuals that tend to indulge thoughts of entitlement. With this in mind, as leaders it is our responsibility to build a culture that shuns entitlement, no matter with which generation our employees identify. If we do not focus on squashing entitlement, we are in danger of identifying with the labels vigorously projected upon us and will only see evidence that supports that label, a phenomenon known as confirmation bias. It is our job to embrace an attitude of “I’m responsible” over one of “I deserve” and teach that to our teams. 

Are there areas in your life where you struggle with an attitude of “I deserve” and how can you model “I’m responsible” in those areas so that your team rejects a culture of entitlement?

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