Training Industry Magazine - Winter 2014 - (Page 13)
GENERATIONS @ WORK
S M ART
S Q UAS H E M P LOY E E
E N T IT L E M ENT
It had been a hard week for Nancy's team.
They were knee-deep in a huge proposal
- and stressed beyond belief. So, on Friday
morning, Nancy brought them bagels to
raise their spirits. They happily devoured the
bagels in the break room and their mood
seemed to improve. This gesture went over
so well that the next Friday, she did the
same thing. And again, the bagels had the
The following Friday, after noticing the
bagel-less break room, one of her employees
appeared in her office. "Where," he asked
indignantly, "are our bagels?"
Training professionals often get an earful
from leaders that employee entitlement -
the enemy of happy teams and business
results - is increasing by the second.
Entitled employees have unjustified
positive opinions about their talents and
contributions. As a result, they feel deserving
of things they haven't earned and dissatisfied
with their job and pay. They're also more likely
to underperform, pick fights, abuse their coworkers, and even behave unethically.
The empirical data on millennials' levels of
entitlement are equivocal at best. In her
book, "Generation Me," Jean Twenge reports
that millennials show higher self-esteem,
narcissism and assertiveness - and a recent
EY study found that 68 percent of millennials
are entitled and self-promoting.
Other research, however, suggests that
millennials are no more entitled than
previous generations. One study, by Brenda
Kowske conducted from 1985-2009,
compared attitudes of millennials and
Generation Xers (born 1965-1979) at the
same age. Kowske's data suggests millennials
are more satisfied with their jobs and level of
recognition than Gen Xers.
So even though the jury is still out on
millennials, training professionals must
teach leaders the skills to squash entitlement
among all generations.
TIPS TO SQUASH ENTITLEMENT
Based on their experiences, many leaders
complain that the millennial generation
is especially entitled. Born between 1980
and 1999, they've been labeled the "Me
Generation" based on the alleged effusive
praise they received at home and school.
According to researcher Paul Harvey, one
cause of entitlement is unmet expectations.
When employees have expectations
for attention or rewards that aren't
commensurate with reality, they'll frequently
be disappointed. Managers can combat this
through transparency about what level
of effort, performance and behaviors are
expected. They should also provide frequent
feedback about how each employee's
contributions are stacking up.
And as a millennial myself, I suggest that
training professionals turn to science - not
anecdotes - for answers.
Differentiate and vary rewards
Nancy's bagels started as a perk but quickly
morphed into a weekly expectation.
THE MILLENNIAL GENERATION:
TRAINING INDUSTRY MAGAZINE - WINTER2014 I WWW.TRAININGINDUSTRY.COM/MAGAZINE
- DR. TASHA EURICH
Leaders who provide team-based rewards
that are too predictable unwittingly breed
entitlement. They must also avoid damning
everyone with equal praise. This is not a
free pass to withhold appreciation - but if
leaders give same appreciation for mediocre
performance as exceptional performance, in
no time, they'll have a bunch of mediocre
whiners who all want a raise just for just
ENTITLEMENT CAN BE
A SYMPTOM OF POOR
Don't put up with entitled behavior
In some cases, leaders who do everything
listed above still have an employee who
feels truly superior to others. This can be
like a cancer to a team. In these cases, the
best thing for the leader, the team and even
the employee might be to help them find a
better opportunity somewhere else.
Just like other employee issues, entitlement
can often be a symptom of poor leadership.
The behaviors above, in conjunction with
a strong leadership development strategy,
will help banish entitlement from your
organization. And when in doubt, remember:
leaders will receive the behavior they reward
Dr. Tasha Eurich is an organizational
psychologist, speaker and author of "Bankable
Leadership." Email Tasha.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Training Industry Magazine - Winter 2014
Table of Contents
Guest Editor: Meeting Today's Learning Consumers Where They Are
How Smart Leaders Squash Employee Entitlement
The Reskilling of Design
Responsive Design and Learning Solutions
Women, Leadership and Emotional Intelligence
Key Trends for 2014: Shifting to Business-Centric Learning
The Promise of Badges for Learning and Development
The Business Leader's Bottom Line: Aligning Learning with Organizational Needs
Raising the Bar: The Impact of Sales Training on Effective Customer Engagement
The Language of Measurement: When to Assess, Evalutate and Test
Casebook: Combined Insurance: Ensuring Efficient Sales Training via Mobile Learning
The Challenge of Workplace Re-entry After Training
The Learning Shift: From Event to Process
Training Industry Magazine - Winter 2014