“What we know is that entitlement is correlated with anger, meaning the more entitled you are the angrier you get,” said Ryan Martin, the author of Why We Get Mad: How to Use Your Anger for Positive Change.
What does it mean to be entitled? A dictionary definition is:
believing oneself to be inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment
Italics are mine.
Believing oneself! Yes, it can come from your position in the pecking order but the definition says that you believe you’re entitled and deserve special treatment.
Leadership and Entitlement
I’ll remind my readers that the number one attitude of a great leader is humbleness. I would say that being humble is the opposite of feeling entitled.
We’ve all run into the entitled leader. Actually, they are not leaders, they’ve simply obtained a position of leadership. But they believe that because they have become a VP or general manager, they’re entitled to special treatment and feel no hesitancy to use a command and control style.
Anger can be real and justified at times. Even Jesus displayed anger at the money changers that were taking advantage of the poor.
The money changers were taking advantage of those who visited the temple. This made Jesus angry and he said “My house shall be called the house of prayer”.
Anger can be justified but be very, very careful of your motives.
On a Clear Day You Can See General Motors
Patrick J. Wright is the author of On a Clear Day You Can See General Motors, an account of John De Lorean’s departure from General Motors. (The account is written without De Lorean’s cooperation.)
De Lorean left General Motors to start his own company, Delorean Motor Company (DMC). If you’re a fan of “Back to the Future” you’ll remember the DMC used by “Doc” to go back in time.
There was one very telling section in that book that described the destructive nature of entitlement.
GM executives arrived at work each morning and their company valet service would pick up their car, take it to the shop, fix any squeaks, rattles, or other issues. The car was then washed and cleaned inside and out and returned to the executive for their drive home.
Based on these executives’ experience, GM was making some of the finest cars in the world. But the general public had a different experience. To them, GM was producing some of the worst cars in the industry. The executives didn’t understand. Sometimes they even got angry at the public for thinking that way. Their anger was based on entitlement!
Do you feel entitled?
That feeling or belief will get you nowhere. In fact, it will be destructive to you and others.
It can be difficult to see our own entitlement. You must develop good friends that are not afraid to tell you if you are acting that way. You must develop a great team that can talk about anything, even your behavior, without fear of reprisal. Entitlement will destroy you! Do whatever you can to keep it from creeping into your life.