How do you deal with folks that have a sense of entitlement?

In the workplace, an attitude of entitlement can take various forms. It’s entitlement if you get the impression that someone treats their employment as a favor to their teammates and the company as a whole. “I went ahead and did that task for you,” for example, is a good indicator of entitlement. Did you go ahead and do it? You went where you were intended to go, which was to the job for which you were hired.

Some people believe they are meant for greatness and that their current position is clearly beneath them. It might not hit you right away, either. It could start in your subconscious, with your conscious mind not quite ready to deal with the inconsistency.

But why do people behave like that you may ask. Well, perhaps they have been conditioned to expect to get what they desire. Most parents want their children to grow up to be happy, healthy, and confident. Parents who always say “yes” to their children’s demands, on the other hand, may be doing their children a major disservice. This sort of parenting teaches youngsters that they will always get their way and that they can expect their demands to be met in any situation. Children who are never told “no” can grow up with a sense of entitlement that follows them into adulthood.

These youngsters may have the expectation that everything would be done according to their wishes, and if this is not the case in adult situations, they may become enraged and resentful of others who do not fulfill their wishes. They may also have a stronger proclivity to be self-pitying.

Negative childhood experiences are thought to be another factor that contributes to a sense of entitlement. Mistreatment, being reared in an atmosphere where a person believed they lacked something that others had, or being treated with contempt or as if they were less than their peers or family members are all examples of this.

At first, entitlement may appear as a way to cope with feelings of anger about being less well-off, or being considered as less competent or valued than others. This coping technique, however, can deteriorate and turn into a sense of entitlement. For example, a child reared in a home with limited goods may resent classmates who have more toys and clothes, and as an adult, they may believe they are entitled to the finer things in life because they were not given them as a child.

When a person develops or suffers from a sense of entitlement, they can display a variety of symptoms. The first indicator is often a person making unrealistic or unattainable demands of their friends, coworkers, family members, or significant others. For example, if you expect your significant other to stay at home all weekend while you go out with friends, or if you demand a loan from a friend or family member when you know they can’t afford it.

People who have a strong feeling of entitlement have a hard time dealing with situations that require compromise because they see everything as a competition. This means that, even when a compromise makes the most sense or benefits both parties, an entitled person will find it nearly impossible to accept because it involves “losing” in their perspective.

When a person with entitlement issues does not get their way, they usually act irrationally or inappropriately for the scenario. This can take the form of a lash out, most commonly in the form of an angry outburst, or it can take the form of refusing to speak to the person who did not comply with their requests.

Such negative emotions frequently lead to an outcome that is far from what a person with entitlement issues want. Instead of gaining the admiration and respect of everyone they meet, they frequently wind up with strained personal and professional relationships, which are sometimes irreparably ruined.

At work, seeing the sense of entitlement in motion is also a possibility. Others believe that because their first week on the job went so well, they are entitled a raise or promotion. Is there no one who will reward them? These are only a few of the numerous masks that entitlement wears, but there are many more. Whether you work with them or lead them, it will become your problem at some point. You won’t go very far pointing fingers, blowing your top, or reporting them.

It’s best if you can infuse as much elegance as possible into the circumstance. Take care of them like an expert. There’s basically no other way to address the matter save talking to them, but there are a few essential points you should bring up during that conversation.

Have one-on-one talks with people. Concentrate on the specific issue of misplaced expectations in the employee/employer relationship. Not everyone who acts in a jerkish manner is aware that they are acting in a jerkish manner. They may be completely unaware that their actions are causing others to have an unfavorable image of them.

Everyone, deep down, wants to be happy, and our actions are usually aimed toward that end goal. The desire to excel and improve their professionalism lies at the heart of their entitled behavior. The issue is with the path taken. You might be able to persuade them to change course if you can diplomatically explain why their strategy isn’t producing the intended results. Entitled individuals, too, require a healthy dose of feedback.

Prepare examples to help the employee understand where expectations aren’t matching up. Even if they try, facts are impossible to dispute with. Maintain your focus on the relevant issue at hand. They might be turned off by the message. They may believe that if they create excellent work, they will be untouchable!

The individual must realize that, while they may be a good worker, their entitled expectations are negatively impacting their team. Do you prefer to avoid having awkward conversations? Here are some tips to help you stay motivated to have these unpleasant talks, as well as how to start a dialogue with an employee.

Make an effort to define expectations and set out the path to entitlement. You’ll have to rein this entitled employee in because they believe they have an automatic right to demand certain things from their boss. To do so, people must first comprehend what will grant them those rights. For example, what performance measures must they meet in order to receive a raise. If they believe they have the right to vacation whenever they choose (operational needs be damned! ), they should be aware that some firms have peak periods during which time off is not viable, such as tax season. Not everyone can take off the week before a major holiday.

This isn’t the time to tell them that they aren’t the superstar employee that they believe they are. You’re letting them know if your job contract is formal or informal. Recognize that you may receive some legitimate requests; don’t dismiss them out of hand.

Finally, it’s important to be consistent. Wash rinse repeat so to speak. So that the expectations and achievements are clear and the employee begins to understand what is required of them to elevate themselves to the expected level.

When it comes to dealing with entitled employees, detect and respond to entitlement as soon as possible by managing expectations. This can quickly escalate into a snowball rolling down the hill, collecting up additional employees along the way and growing in entitled demands.

Check out my related post: Do you know what your leadership blindspots are?

Interesting reads:

Consistency is your friend
Keep on message, you will likely need to manage entitled expectations a few times over multiple conversations.

There are two ways that the employee can respond, both of them will work for you:

Option 1: They start to align with your expectations and manage their privileged demands. Option 2: They continue to request and expect more privilege than others. At this point, you may need to advise them that they could be happier at at different organization or team since they have expectations that you cannot meet.

If number 2 seems extreme to you, I have actually done this to one high needs employee. They ended up moving on elsewhere and we were mutually happy for this change. Although this may cause short term pain on your team while you hire and train someone new – it is worth it in the long term.

When it comes to how to handle an entitled employee, identify and respond to entitlement by managing expectations as soon as you can. This can turn in to a snowball rolling down the hill – picking up other staff members as it goes and escalating in entitled demands.

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