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Gratitude: Say “Thank You” Like You Mean It

If you’ve spent much time around young children, you’ve probably seen some version of this interaction play out when you hand a snack to a toddler:

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Parent:What do you say?

Child (mouth full, all attention on remaining food): “Mmankoo

You may or may not find this charming behavior in a three-year-old, but for adults—and especially for adults in leadership—gratitude is something worth taking very seriously. Few things motivate people better than feeling appreciated, and few things are more demoralizing than feeling unappreciated.

Fighting Entitlement by Fostering Self-Respect

In the workplace and elsewhere, those in leadership a position should be thinking about self-respect—both their own and that of others. When everyone maintains a healthy level of self-respect, people are confident in their work. They take risks and innovate. They admit their mistakes. Trust levels tend to be high, and communication and collaboration are smooth.

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But self-respect has an evil twin: a sense of entitlement, which often looks like self-respect taken to its furthest extreme. As I speak to groups and travel between engagements, I hear a lot about these people and the harm they do in the workplace. They understand the rules but insist that they should be exempt. They push their way into every conversation, are slow to share credit, and make looking out for themselves—even at the expense of others—a top priority. They may consider themselves special because they’re older, or younger, or have a graduate degree, or came from a higher-status background. But for whatever reason, they’re focused entirely on their own success and have no desire to play by other people’s rules.