A significant portion of my work is undertaken at senior executive level. In these forums, I have worked with Board Directors, CEOs, school
principals and senior leadership teams. Some extremely wealthy multi nationals are represented alongside some of the smallest and most under
resourced small business.
Over many years and many, many board room and executive discussions, I’ve seen patterns emerge. In particular, I’ve observed one approach to
these discussions that separates the productive from the unproductive. That difference is the use of open versus closed questions.
A culture of responsibility is one of learned aptitude. When leaders and their employees take responsibility, they prove to others and to
themselves that they are capable; that obstacles can be overcome, and that actions lead to results. Conversely, a culture of entitlement is one of learned helplessness. Entitlement is the belief that you are owed something,
and that when you do not receive what you are supposedly owed, it is a failing of your leaders.
A culture of entitlement is a toxic one, because it teaches its members that complaining is the extent of their available responses to
challenge and adversity.
Even as children, we seem to innately understand that there is such a thing as strong leadership, and recognise it when we see
it, even if we don’t yet have the language for it.
The next step, then, is to give our young people that language, and more importantly, it must be a language that they share with the adults
in their lives. We as adults, and especially those who teach leadership, must respect our future leaders. For many of us,
that extends to trusting them quite a bit more than we currently do.
I would be very surprised to hear that you’re not. We’re all busy. It seems that now more than ever before we are a culture defined by just
how much we need to do. We work incredibly long hours, and are expected to work overtime if we’re to move up the ladder, or move the needle
in any meaningful way.