Dr. Cloud on when Self-assessed Value and Real Value Don’t Match Up

Available for interviews is Dr. Henry Cloud, Clinical Psychologist and New York Times best-selling author.

There is an old saying that immature people ask for life to meet their demands and mature people meet the demands of life. In that light, a new analysis of the American Freshman Survey, which has been asking students to rate themselves compared to their peers since 1966, shows that U.S. college students think they’re more entitled than ever. Of course, at the same time, there’s another group of students that is very hard working, creative, innovative and not entitled. Both groups exist out there, so it’s not all bad.

You see this beginning in the little leagues and soccer leagues where everybody gets a trophy and is told they are wonderful and special just because they exist…when in reality there are performance standards in life that we need to equip children to be able to deal with later. Equip kids to be competent and then let the feedback from their real results make them feel deserving of that promotion.

But here’s the problem: the gap between a student’s self-appraisal and other people’s appraisal of them is a situation for real negative consequences in both personal and professional life. These individuals end up feeling angry and resentful at teachers, bosses, and even girlfriends or boyfriends who don’t think they are as special as they perceive themselves to be. Other people get frustrated with them and later when nobody buys into how special they are, they end up getting depressed.

The mentality of entitlement is very much a reality in the business world and as a leadership consultant I see it frequently in businesses I consult with, particularly when these students get older because they’re difficult to manage. To really be able to utilize these talented young people, companies have to train leaders to be able to lead in a different way with this population who doesn’t want to be led in traditional ways. They don’t just assume that their bosses have the right to tell them what to do, or have certain requirements, so today’s manager has to be equipped to lead this group in a very different way than they may have been led themselves. It’s often a leadership crisis with real business implications—how do you lead a generation that not only doesn’t just salute bosses, but sometimes doesn’t want to be led?

For starters, closing the gap between a person’s self-assessed value and their actual value requires dialogue and a very simple formula – here is what’s required and here’s what you’ve got to do to step up to make everyone happy. You’ve got to serve your stakeholders and make them as happy with you as you are with yourself. Getting them to engage in that formula is a leadership challenge for today but the good news is that it can be done, and there truly is a lot of talent in this group. When leaders make that bridge, great things can happen.

MEDIA CONTACT: Sheena Tahilramani, sheena@7secondstrategies.com, Phone: (202) 340-5536

ABOUT DR. HENRY CLOUD (www.drcloud.com): Dr. Cloud is a clinical psychologist, leadership consultant, best-selling author, and speaker whose books have sold over 5 million copies. Drawing upon his broad range of experiences in private practice, leadership consulting, and media, he simplifies life’s issues and gives easy to understand, practical advice. It’s Dr. Cloud’s humor, compassion and “in the moment” confrontation that make his approach to psychology, business and spirituality such a success.

Dr. Cloud has written, or co-written, more than twenty books, including the two-million-seller Boundaries and his most recent books, Necessary EndingsIntegrityThe One Life SolutionThe Law of Happiness and 9 Things You Simply Must Do. His books have sold over six million copies. His works has been reviewed and featured by such publications as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times and many others. Dr. Cloud co-hosts the nationally syndicated radio program New Life Live, which is heard in over 180 markets.

Posted on January 7, 2013 in Dr. Henry Cloud, Press Releases

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