Dealing with entitled employees

As managers and supervisors, one of the most difficult employee types we have to deal with are those people who are focused solely on their own jobs, their own needs, and their own rights.  True products of the “all-about-me” generation, these individuals and their attitudes of entitlement can be true team-killers.  The concept of pitching in as part of a team effort, or going above and beyond the call of duty isn’t just foreign to them, it is downright unthinkable.  Yet while they’ll be the last ones to volunteer to help out, they’ll be first in line when it comes to wanting privileges and special treatment.  As far as they’re concerned, they are an irreplaceable component to the business, and should be recognized as such.

The Immovable Object Strategy

I’ve seen a number of strategies used to deal with Entitled employees, but only one that works consistently.   One VP Operations for a large health care client of ours refers to it as his “Immovable Object” strategy.

It’s a pretty straight-forward approach: When the Entitled Employee balks at a task or doesn’t play nicely with the rest of your team, be unwavering in your insistence that he be engaged.  Don’t waste your time negotiating with him or lecturing him – simply state your expectations, and make it clear that you will not accept anything less.  Be prepared to begin corrective action with him if he continues to resist.  Often Entitled Ones need a little convincing of your seriousness.

The Immovable Object strategy is founded on two principles. First is that there is no advantage to giving Entitled Employees special treatment – because you’ll never see anything in return. The second is that the rest of the team will see you as being both a fair and effective leader.

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