Training Industry Magazine - Winter 2014 - (Page 13)

GENERATIONS @ WORK S M ART LEAD ERS 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 intended effect. 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. Reduce uncertainty 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: DISPROPORTIONATELY ENTITLED? TRAINING INDUSTRY MAGAZINE - WINTER2014 I WWW.TRAININGINDUSTRY.COM/MAGAZINE - DR. TASHA EURICH H OW 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 showing up. ENTITLEMENT CAN BE A SYMPTOM OF POOR LEADERSHIP. 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 and tolerate. Dr. Tasha Eurich is an organizational psychologist, speaker and author of "Bankable Leadership." Email Tasha. 13

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Training Industry Magazine - Winter 2014

Tracking Trends
Table of Contents
Guest Editor: Meeting Today's Learning Consumers Where They Are
Facilitating Change
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
What's Online
Company News

Training Industry Magazine - Winter 2014