Let’s demystify entitlement. It’s when individuals believe they deserve special treatment, setting them apart from their peers. In business, entitlement rears its ugly head when employees or executives think they should be treated differently than their colleagues. Unfortunately, this issue is often so ingrained that business owners may not know it’s happening right under their noses.
The Tenure Trap
One significant example is the long-time employee with “tenure.” These individuals may develop a sense of privilege, justifying their status as the most seasoned members of the organization. Left unaddressed, this entitlement can manifest as a lack of teamwork, an inflated sense of importance within the team, or even negatively impact customer interactions. The consequences become especially critical if the long-term employee feels undervalued or discontented.
The Silent Erosion
Regardless of its source, entitlement can silently erode your business from the inside out. Those who feel entitled often exude an overly confident attitude, making decisions beyond their role and influencing others as if speaking on behalf of the owner. This can harm team morale and even lead to fraudulent activities, particularly if the franchise owner places too much trust in a long-term employee who knows how to manipulate the system.
Strategies for Overcoming Entitlement in the Family Business
Overcoming or protecting your business from entitlement isn’t always easy. While there may be a sense of obligation to long-term employees, tenure does not automatically equate to dedication or superior performance. To combat this behavior, consider the following strategies to set the tone of equality in your family business:
Address the Issue:
When long-term employees make statements about their dedication based on tenure, respond with a clear statement that tenure doesn’t determine loyalty.
Protective Measure: Implement regular check-ins and open communication channels to address concerns promptly. Encourage a culture where everyone’s contributions are valued, regardless of tenure.
Quantitative Performance Measures:
Implement performance reviews that use the same criteria for everyone. This ensures a fair evaluation and reveals any disparities in effort among employees.
Protective Measure: Establish clear performance metrics and expectations for all team members. Regularly assess and communicate these metrics to foster transparency and equal standards.
Establish programs that recognize employee contributions throughout the year, fostering a sense of equality and appreciation.
Protective Measure: Implement a structured recognition program highlighting achievements based on merit, not tenure. This could include monthly awards or shout-outs in team meetings.
- Be an Owner, Not a Friend:
While long-term employees may feel like family, maintaining clear boundaries as an owner or performance coach is essential for a healthy working relationship.
Protective Measure: Emphasize a professional working environment while maintaining a supportive atmosphere. Clearly communicate expectations and boundaries to prevent blurred lines between personal and professional relationships.
Recognizing and Addressing Entitlement Characteristics
Entitlement manifests in various ways, such as an attitude of being special, a sense of being owed something, or a refusal to accept responsibility. Identifying and addressing entitlement requires compassion, as the organization may have underlying enablement. Approach the situation with care to avoid coming off as harsh or judgmental.
Fostering Growth and Change, Position Your Business For Succession Success
Once protective measures are in place, shift the focus to fostering growth, change, and well-being. Help individuals accept the realities of their roles, take responsibility, and shoulder the weight of their own lives.
By defeating the entitlement virus, you pave the way for a successful family business succession. Let’s build a foundation that ensures longevity, prosperity, and a thriving legacy together.
Contact Us, and we can help you with insights and other resources and see if it makes sense to work together. At the very least, in 30 minutes, you may get some ideas to apply to your business immediately.