Entitled People Aren’t Great Executives

There is a story this morning in USA Today about frequent fliers and how courtesy in the skies is a long-gone thing. It really sounded very familiar – someone on a plane behaving as if it is their own private jet instead of shared space. It came on the heels of another post yesterday on a local blog here about people who park in handicapped spaces without stickers. This blog had written the day prior about people “reserving” sections of our local beach even though there are clear rules against it.  The Mrs. calls it the “rules don’t apply to me” attitude and views it as a safety issue.  After all, how often do you see someone driving while on the phone or looking down at their phone to text as they roll through a stop sign?  We see it a lot.
So what does this have to do with business, you ask? It has to do with a entitled mindset and THAT, dear readers, has a lot to do with business success – or lack thereof!

One would think that the folks who fly a lot would be sensitive to the issues we all face on airplanes these days:

According to flight attendant Kelly Skyles, the No. 1 thing passengers should understand is that they are not the only people on an airplane.  “Passengers come on board, and it’s all about them,” says Skyles, “I realize in our society it has come to be like that, but space is very limited, it’s confined and it’s shared.”

Though many business travelers say rookie, infrequent travelers are most likely to annoy them during a flight, others say it’s veteran travelers with entitlement issues…”Business travelers are the most annoying,” says a sales manager in the industrial supplies industry. “They feel they have earned the right to be first in line, first for attention, first for overhead space and first to complain.”

In short, a sense of entitlement.  My belief is that one can’t have that kind of attitude and be a great executive.  It takes a focus on customers, peers and subordinates to do that and these people clearly don’t have that.  Oh sure, maybe they can put on a happy face in those dealings and make the others believe that they care, but there are “tells.”  Watch how someone treats the wait staff when you dine with them.  Think about their treatment of their own staff – replaceable employees or valuable members of the team?

This is what we see playing out in London today with News Corp. – “the rules don’t apply to us”.  This is what we’ve seen in the mortgage crisis – “the rules don’t apply to us.”  Executives going to jail for embezzlement, athletes getting in trouble off the field, Bernie Madoff – it’s all the same thing.  So ask yourself this:  would you hire or want to work for/with these folks?  Your customers don’t either.

Am I off base?

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