Can gratitude cure entitlement?

Image showing gratitude journal.

Key takeaways

  • Entitlement is the belief in undeserved privileges, linked to arrogance and a lack of empathy. Recognising it is vital for personal growth.
  • Entitlement affects relationships negatively and breeds resentment in the workplace, creating a toxic environment.
  • Spot entitlement by observing signs like a reluctance to collaborate, unrealistic expectations, and resistance to change. Early intervention prevents toxicity.
  • Gratitude, expressed through thankfulness and appreciation, fosters a positive outlook, and strengthens connections.
  • Gratitude acts as an antidote to entitlement, promoting humility, accountability, and empathy. Managers can transform team dynamics with gratitude practices.

In this blog, we’re delving into the intriguing question: Can gratitude cure entitlement? Entitlement, often linked with narcissism, can lead to a lack of empathy and a sense of superiority. In this post, we’ll explore the negative consequences of entitlement and how gratitude, a powerful emotion, can serve as an antidote. Specifically, we’ll discuss the impact of gratitude in the workplace and how managers can identify and address an entitlement mindset among their team members.

What is entitlement?

Entitlement is, at its core, the belief in deserving certain privileges without necessarily earning them. It often manifests as a lack of recognition of your own privilege or an acknowledgement of external factors contributing to success. (e.g. having educated parents).

This mindset, often associated with narcissism, can foster arrogance and hinder empathy for others.

What are the negative consequences of entitlement?

Unfortunately, entitlement isn’t just an individual problem, it can have serious negative repercussions on relationships and workplaces alike.

People with a sense of entitlement often fail to appreciate other peoples’ needs and views, which can lead them to act unkindly towards others. This can create conflict in personal relationships, making it difficult for them to get along with friends or family members.

In the workplace, entitlement can breed resentment among co-workers who are tired of being taken advantage of by individuals who expect rewards and promotions without putting in the necessary work. This behaviour can create a toxic work environment and demotivate other team members.

Spotting entitlement in the workplace

Recognising entitlement within your team is key to managing a healthy work environment.

Watch for signs such as:

  • A reluctance to collaborate.
  • A reluctance to take responsibility.
  • Unrealistic expectations regarding recognition, raises and promotions.
  • A lack of gratitude for others’ efforts.
  • A resistance to constructive feedback.
  • Expectations around special treatment.
  • A resistance to change.

What is gratitude?

On the flipside of entitlement is gratitude, a powerful emotion characterised by thankfulness and appreciation.

The most common way to express gratitude is with words, but it can also be expressed through actions, like sending someone flowers or baking them their favourite cake!

Gratitude plays a crucial role in fostering a positive outlook, it helps us feel good about ourselves, appreciate what we have, and connect with others.

Why is gratitude important?

Gratitude holds significance because it can help you to cultivate a more positive outlook. When you’re grateful, you appreciate what you have in life. This can make a person feel better about themselves and their situation in general.

It’s also important because it helps people cope with challenges that come their way and become more resilient. When we are grateful for what we already have, it makes us want to keep working hard so we can get even more out of life!

Can gratitude help you to overcome entitlement?

Gratitude emerges as a powerful antidote to entitlement. It can help promote humility, accountability, and an appreciation of others.

For managers concerned about an entitlement mindset within their teams, integrating gratitude practises can be a genuinely transformative strategy.

With that being said, here are just 3 ways gratitude can benefit us:

1. Gratitude can humble us

Gratitude has the power to humble us. When we become aware of all the things in life that we have been given, it puts our own problems into perspective and reminds us how blessed we really are. This experience can help us counteract feelings of superiority or self-importance over others — both very common symptoms of entitlement!

2. Gratitude builds accountability

Gratitude helps build accountability into our lives by reminding us constantly how much other people depend on us (and vice versa). When we recognise this interconnectedness between ourselves and those around us, our actions become more intentional and meaningful because they affect not only ourselves but also those around us who need our support so that they can thrive as well.

3. Gratitude builds empathy

Gratitude expands our worldview, promoting empathy towards others. It encourages us to look beyond ourselves to realise when others may need our attention and support.

How can you encourage gratitude in your team?

Now how can you as a manager encourage your team members to embrace gratitude?

1. Gratitude journaling

Encourage your team members to keep a gratitude journal. One of the easiest ways that you can practice gratitude is by writing down what you’re thankful for every day. They can do this using a pen and paper, or using a digital app like Presently or Evernote.

2. Acts of kindness

Propose that your team members perform acts of kindness without expecting anything in return. The act of giving is a powerful way to cultivate feelings of thankfulness, so provide volunteering opportunities where your team can volunteer their time at an organisation that helps people in need or encourage them to offer their services as a mentor if they’re qualified and able to do so.

3. Support at work

Urge team members to consider how they can help their colleagues at work. Whether it’s offering assistance on a project, or simply sending a message to a co-worker they notice is feeling down or under pressure, these small gestures can make a significant impact.

Final thoughts

So, can gratitude cure entitlement? In our opinion, yes. As a manager, incorporating gratitude practises within your team can create a positive shift in mindset and create a healthy and motivational work environment. It’s important to remember that there are many different ways to practice gratitude, so explore our tips above and find what resonates best for your team to foster a culture of gratitude.


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