Be honest; when you read the title of our posting series, did it immediately conjure up an image of a selfie-taking, social media addicted, text-obsessed millennial? Before we go any further, let us first take a moment and apologize to the recent generation entering the workforce. Turns out, there may not be any increase at all in narcissism over the past few decades. In a scientific analysis of approximately one-half million high-school seniors over three decades, Brent Donnellan and Kali Trzesniewski of the University of Western Ontario argue teens today are no more egotistical (and actually, just as happy and content) as previous generations.
“We concluded that, more often than not, kids these days are about the same as they were back in the mid-1970s,” said Donnellan, associate professor of psychology. They also stated that their findings show that entitlement changes dramatically with maturity in comparison to nominal generational changes. In other words, it’s not that people born after 1980 are self-absorbed – it’s that young people are, and they get over themselves as they get older.
On the other hand, aren’t we all working alongside some select individuals who haven’t “gotten over themselves?” In nearly every professional environment, it is not uncommon to encounter those who have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and an occasional lack of empathy for others. These individuals can range from recent college grads to the most tenured of staff, and some could even be some of the most valued players on the team! An effective leader needs to be able to lead, manage and inspire all personality types, including how to embrace the entitled.