Webster defines entitlement as “a belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges”. Based on this definition entitlement doesn’t seem like such a bad thing. I’ve always had a negative view on the concept of entitlement. In a team environment if a team member has a sense of entitlement she thinks she’s entitled to certain privileges because she’s been on the job longer than others or because he thinks his standards are higher than those of his teammates.
In the hospitality business we all know the scenario. We have those servers who have been with us since Nam, they show up for work on time, they do their job and go home. Essentially they follow the rules, they are reliable but at the end of the day it’s all about them. They have an energy you can feel that says “I’m better than the rest therefore I deserve the best schedule and the best tables”. I really don’t have to participate with the team because I have a great track record, I know what I’m doing and I take care of my guests. So my question is: How many of us allow members of our team to display a blatant sense of entitlement and continue to let them remain on the team? Because I believe in true confessions I’m here to tell you I’m guilty of this as I write this blog!
I have a situation where I have a 30 year server (yes, I said thirty – that’s not a typo) who has a blatant sense of entitlement. I’m working hard to give her the benefit of the doubt; however she continues to demonstrate behavior that dampens the morale of the team. She had an altercation with another team member today that was disrespectful and unacceptable (In my book there’s never an excuse to use foul language when interacting with a fellow team member). Of course she did. When I sat down to talk to her I asked her to tell me about the incident. Several questions later it was quite obvious that she wasn’t going to own her behavior. I finished the conversation by informing her that we are not going to condone that type of behavior and if it happens again we’ll have to have another conversation.
Here’s my challenge. We are working in a country club environment with lots of older members. Many of whom are in love with this server. She’s what I’d refer to as an icon around here. If she goes away there will be a percentage of the membership who will be outraged (according to other managers) I get that, however I have to make decisions that serve the best interests of the team.
With all this said, I’m the ultimate optimist! I believe in people and I believe they can change their attitudes & behavior if they have the desire to do so. Right now this server has demonstrated no desire to change. She spends all her time deflecting and she’s been unwilling to admit that she’s at fault. Don’t know how this is going to turn out but I’m up for the challenge. My goal is for her to stay and be a productive member of an awesome team. Stay Tuned!