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Posted by on Jul 27, 2012 in Communication, Leadership | 8 comments

Entitlement: How to Ruin your Leadership

Here’s how to destroy your leadership influence: Develop a thought that somebody owes you something.  Let that thought take root deep down in your belief system.  Before you know it, your new-found sense of entitlement will ruin your leadership.

While I was graduating high school, some of my respected school leaders were going to jail.  It started with the Assistant Superintendent, but the scandal spread quickly to employees throughout the School District.  It was a pretty big deal for our small town.  There were good leaders that I had grown to love and respect that were involved.  Some were fired.  Some went to jail.  Some lost their families.

All of them had fallen into The Entitlement Trap.  They genuinely believed that they deserved more from the system.  So, they took money; they took cars; they took vacations; and as a result, they had to give up their positions of influence.

Great leadership means avoiding the Entitlement Trap, and it starts by guarding your thoughts.  Don’t even allow the thought that someone owes you something to take root.

“A sense of entitlement is a cancerous thought process that is void of gratitude and can be deadly to relationships, businesses, and even nations.”Steve Maraboli

4 Entitlement Traps to avoid:

1.) Entitlement with Subordinates:  Who hasn’t thought to themselves: “I’m paying these guys to do this!  I want it done MY way!”  This perspective, though, will eat a way at your employees’ trust. In business school, we read an article that suggested that in today’s business environment one would do best to treat every employee like a volunteer.  Many employees no longer allow fear or loyalty to keep them in positions where they are dissatisfied.  Running your organization with a sense of entitlement will mean low commitment and high turnover.  On the flip side, overwhelming subordinates with gratitude may just increase their level of commitment to a place you’d never be able to pay for.

2.) Entitlement with Money:  This is a nasty trap that has taken many good people.  Here’s how it starts: “Look at all this money I just made/saved the company.  I’ve put in all these extra hours.  They owe me!”  Before you know it, you’re charging personal expenses to the company card, taking office supplies home and finding creative ways to compensate yourself.  Here’s a good rule of thumb to protect you: If you deserve more than you’re being paid, go ask for it.   Make sure all of your “compensation” is authorized by the appropriate people.  Get it in writing.  Have it approved by the board.  Do it legally!

3.) Entitlement with Family: Entitlement at home comes in the form of Expectations.  I once read that every time you develop an expectation from your spouse, you rob them of an opportunity to love you.  Even if your spouse or children go out of their way to serve you, if you expect them to do it – or feel entitled to receive that treatment – you don’t receive it as love.  On the other hand, if you don’t consider yourself entitled to any particular treatment, then every little act of service is building your love and appreciation for one another.  Dishes, Laundry, Sex, Cleaning, Date-nights, Listening…what if all of these were not requirements but acts of love!

4.) Entitlement with God: In Tim Keller’s book, The Prodigal God, he points out that BOTH sons in the parable of the prodigal son were off the mark…both of them were after what their Father could give them.  The eldest son just had a more long-term plan for getting what he wanted.  After serving his father devoutly, he felt he was entitled to receive something.

It’s easy for leaders to think like the elder son.  After all, you’ve given your life for this work.  You gave up other opportunities.  You paid a price others weren’t willing to pay.  Doesn’t God owe you something?  But let’s not forget…HE IS our inheritance.  And, it’s His joy to shower us with good things.  Let’s be grateful for the opportunity to be a part of His work and let Him worry about taking care of us!

What Entitlement Traps have you seen?  How do you avoid them?

An Inspirational Thought along these lines!

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Posted by on Jul 23, 2012 in Inspirational, Leadership | 2 comments

4 Ways to Keep Growing

4 Ways to Keep Growing

Some people will rise and achieve the dreams in their heart.  Others will stop short and settle for less.  We used to sing a song in high school show choir that Garth Brooks made famous, “I will sail my vessel”.

I always loved this verse:

“Too many times we stand aside,
and let the water slip away.
And what we put off till tomorrow,
has now become today.
So don’t you sit upon the shore line,
and say you’re satisfied.
Choose the chance to rapids,
and dare to dance the tides.”

This past week I’ve been reading John Maxwell’s Thinking for a Change.  He emphasized something that I know to be true deep inside me.  It’s us who decide to settle with where we are and stop advancing.  In the moment that we decide to stop learning and growing, we put a cap on our potential and a coffin around our dreams.

Here are some ways to keep growing so you can achieve everything in your heart!

4 Ways to Keep Growing

1.) Believe You CAN Change: For some reason we reach a certain age and we think we just can’t change anymore.  My leadership professor, Dr. James Bailey, shared this article with me this week: http://on.wsj.com/Mqlper  The key idea is that people who believe that they can continue to develop are more likely to be successful.  The minute you decide you can’t possibly grow any more is the minute you’ve stopped pursuing your dreams.

“I haven’t arrived yet…and therein lies the secret to greatness”

2.) Battle Lethargy: Most people wouldn’t believe me, but I have a serious battle with lethargy. Despite all of my personal ambition, I fight with myself everyday to do what’s important for my personal growth.  Some days I just want to coast through and do the easy day-to-day stuff without pushing myself to grow.  The problem is that giving in for the day very often turns into giving in for the week.  Before I know it, a month has gone by without any personal development.  The only way to stay on top of lethargy is to battle it everyday.  Make a decision to wake up and take on your personal growth by force.

Awesome post by Michael Hyatt on this subject.

3.) Read: I know, I know.  “Readers are Leaders”  blah, blah, blah  I hate to read!  I much more enjoy being inside my own head than somebody else’s.  The problem is that what is going on inside my own head can’t possibly be growth.  If I can already think it, it’s only from what I already know.  Here’s a tip, though:  Don’t be intimidated by those super-readers out there who demolish 10 books a week.  I’m not there, yet.  But what I do is very powerful.  I pick a book that I know will challenge me and I spend some time with it.  I don’t stop at absorbing knowledge.  I think through it.  I apply it to my life.  Even if I only get through one every couple of months, I know that’s it’s made a difference.  And that encourages me to keep going!

4.) Stop and Listen.  There are two voices that will always tell you the next area where you can grow.  Sometimes a commitment to growth is just taking a moment to listen to what they’re saying.

The 1st voice comes from the people around you.  It’s easy for us to breeze past the critiques of others.  But I’ve noticed that some of the greatest growth in my life has come from taking a moment to understand their criticism and do some real soul searching.

The 2nd voice is the voice of God…that still small voice on the inside of you.  Did you know that He put the dreams that you have inside your heart?  He wants you to fulfill them more than you do!  He also knows exactly where you need to development to take the next step He has laid out for you.  Stop and Listen.  You’ll be amazing what He has to say!  Here are some more tips on prayer.

So…What secrets do you have to share on how to keep growing?

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