Not about Entitlement, but Honour

What is entitlement all about? How does one feel entitle to something? Is it normal, out of place or misplaced?

According to Oxford Dictionary, entitlement is defined as “the belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.” We often hear about entitlement mentality and mindset in our country and in most organizations. And leaders having to deal with such…either successfully or woefully. It depends on how it is correctly seen.

The belief of one deserving of special privileges and treatment is borne out of the belief that dues has been paid in the past. And I think it stems from the fact that, “I expect a compensation for doing this”. It’s not far-fetched right? The good book states that do not muzzle the Ox that threads the grain. But is it the right mindset to a situation, for a community or organization? What breeds entitlement mindset?

When we replace a sense of service and gratitude with a sense of entitlement and expectation, we quickly see the demise of our relationships, society, and economy. – Steve Maraboli

The above quote, I believe perfectly captures when entitlement starts to set in, in any situation. When we have undefined expectations and believe in the immutability of arithmetic progression in any situation. it is a perfectly normal line of thinking in any situation I want to believe that, but when the frequency of that progression is not defined, it would likely become a case of entitlement.

So Joe joins an organization, works assiduously for ten years, always available and ensuring things run smoothly always. Has the qualifications, the experience and what have you. What would you expect of the organization to do for him ideally after 10 years? Promotion? Salary Increase? Perks?

So XEV employs Joe as a entry level executive, his JD was given to him and his deliverables. And for 10 years, he has delivered on his deliverables, has some bad negative moments, but the organization can count on him to deliver and have their back. So what does the organization expect of him after all these years? Loyalty? Trust? Gratitude?

I am sure you are guessing wildly and running analysis in your head and finding similar patterns and scenarios either with you or someone you know. The point is, in both instances, what are the clear cut expectations? What are the defined parameters that would guide conduct and the timelines for rewards. The saying, when a purpose is not known, abuse becomes inevitable readily comes to mind here, also the saying, hope deferred makes the heart sick…once both sides have not established clear parameters of expectations, entitlement creeps in, gratitude and service takes a backbench, and things starts to nosedive in trickles and then in torrents.

We’re wired to expect the world to be brighter and more meaningful and more obviously interesting than it actually is. And when we realize that it isn’t, we start looking around for the real world.” ― Lev Grossman

The feeling of entitlement is, looking around for the real world. Looking to make things ideal, the way it ought to be. Moving from normative to positive. That search for utopia, is what brings us to a mess most times as we do not have what to benchmark against in our search for the real deal. Hence In the process, we make wrong assumptions based on wrong expectations that would lead to wrong results. It’s the remote cause of corruption in any society, the backbone of strife and anguish.

What is the honorable thing to do?

Promises made, promises kept. (PMPK). That is the foundation of any successful relationship, venture and society. Let expectations be clear as the sunlight, with clear timelines on rewards and perks. I like the words of Margaret Thatcher, “There’s no such thing as entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation.”

Can we be committed to our obligations as individuals, organizations and society? Until we are committed can our entitlement be honorable. And it is not just commitment for commitment sake, it is commitment with a view to add value that would be win-win for all parties concerned. In the words of James Clear, “Ultimately, it’s your commitment to the process that would determine your progress.” Progress has to do with growth, development, increase, expansion etc. How committed are we to our laid down process that would ensure we do the honorable thing and not make anyone feel they are entitled to “eat out of the National cake” at the detriment of others and collective growth.

As a boss, I should not think since I pay their salaries they owe me their loyalty and time. No, go beyond the salary payment. What certifications can they do? What perks do they enjoy as staff? What are the terms of service? It is also not the time to lord over them as the “alpha and omega” of their lives. Respect their time,privacy and family. As an employee, don’t think all I owe them is the work you are paid for. Put in your best, burn the midnight candle, go the extra mile to care and protect the company. It is not the time to cheat on the company nor squander away company resources and time. If we all play our parts, we are obligated to honor one another, there would be mutual trust, growth and development.

On the National front it applies as well. Each arm and parastatal of government, every government official need to play their part and roles for citizens to play their roles as well. Accountability is the bedrock of trust, the foundation upon which successful enterprise, society and government is built. And on it seats gratitude, service and appreciation.

Once we can get it right, things indeed would be right.


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