How to cope with the “entitled”?
Entitled people are those who think they deserve the best from everything: situations, people, events etc.
Sometimes they have done the work to think so, sometimes not.
They are not always a person of authority - but they feel they are and throw their weight around.
The easiest way to notice them is how they ask something from you - they never ask what you think/whether you can do what they want/ whether you are available/whether it is beneficial for the team. They simply state they need something from you on a timeline and walk away. Most importantly, the same rules don't apply to them because they think they are a cut above all others.
Underlying all the show of “confidence” is insecurity: Insecurity that they are not important, insecurity that they are not respected until they demand it from others.
Sometimes the demands are subtle - by showing a laundry list of achievements, certifications, etc and sometimes not so subtle - display of anger, being pushy, having un-earthly demands etc.
Some of my clients who value pleasant working relationships find it hard to handle people who are pushy & entitled.
Here are a few tips to handle the “entitled”:
1. Acknowledge: When working with “entitled” people, acknowledge who the person is and what he/she brings to the table. People who feel entitled have a hidden need to be accepted and respected. When you satisfy their need, they can be at ease. This is not to say that you need to show that you are inferior or you need to treat them as superior. You don’t have to always give in. You don’t have to stoop. It simply means that you are acknowledging another human being for the goodness that they have. Acknowledgements can be with words or gestures. Words that others in the space can hear work much better.
2. State Intent with authenticity: Most of the "entitled" live in their head - and their head is full of doubt about who they are and where others are coming from. When discussing with them, always state intent explicitely - eg: “I like our team to win, I am with you.” Intent helps to keep the triggers low for an “entitled” person. Knowing where you are coming from is super important for an entitled person to ignore their triggers and drop guard.
3. Pro-active self disclosure: If you have constraints - have a proactive conversation/one-o-one with the “entitled” person to talk to them about your constraints and seek their help. Explaining constraints does not work when they are on a tread mill.
4. Draw boundaries and honour them: There may be situations where you cannot really budge/accommodate. Know which are those and draw clear thick boundaries around them. Don’t give-in on those else you will always get pushed around.
5. Highlight competency they value: Most “entitled” can accomodate people / situations that would help them be successful. Be one of the best in your work and feel free to flaunt it. At the end of the day, its you capability that will stand the test of time and people.
6. Stay away from brooding on value conflicts: If you view entitled people with a lens of they are wrong and you are right - you will go nowhere. So be inclusive of them even though you value different things. Save your precious energy on things that serve you.
What strategies do you use to handle the ‘entitled’?