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Temperament and Entitlement

With so many different personalities in this world, it can sometimes be challenging to navigate the complexities of human interaction. Beyond the basic differences between introverts, extroverts, and ambiverts, or the generational differences between those who do and those who do not feel uneasy with the thought of speaking over the phone or having a video chat, there are other factors that influence communication with others. Putting cultural differences aside as well, complexities with personalities are quite interesting when the element of temperament is also considered.


There have been times when we have all witnessed, encountered, or read in the news about those individuals who act in selfish ways: a passenger becoming belligerent with a flight attendant; a customer being bad-mannered with a server; or a celebrity performer who is completely rude with stage crews and fellow musicians. Does it seem that more often people are acting out with a sense of entitlement? How many times have you observed someone like this? There are certainly times when stress can get the best of people, but for some, stress is not to blame for this unpleasant behavior. There are some folks who are frequently on edge, impatient, critical of everyone, and act negatively toward most obligations. This “it’s all about me and me only” behavior seems to be promoted in ways that have become mainstream and shockingly competitive. Think about someone you have met who fits this description. They often feel entitled and lack genuine respect toward others. Whatever their personal circumstance is, one may never know, but when interacting with these individuals, handling encounters sensibly and not out of retaliation will allow for the possibility of a more positive outcome.


In our music sphere, we will hopefully find fewer people who fit this selfish description. More often than not, those of us in the music sector are known for our compassion and the ways in which we strive to work together and build community. Certainly, there are those who have a reputation for being “difficult,” but sometimes we will come across people who undoubtedly fit the negative temperament described above. Quite often, these folks just need to be heard and dealt with in a more straightforward way. How can we approach them? We can simply be direct and ask them about what is bothering them. If we approach with genuine concern, they may let their guard down and open up. By truly assessing their response, and avoiding negative knee-jerk reactions, we can help minimize uncomfortable situations and perhaps also provide them with solutions.


How well you know this challenging person and depending on who the person is in your circles, you may be able to communicate openly and discuss how their behavior may not exactly be serving their best interests. If previous attempts to deal with this person have been made by you and others without any noticeable improvement, then a more official means of intervention through higher administrative levels or human resources may be the next option.


We also have to remember that we cannot control the behavior of other people, but what we can control is our own response. We don't want the environment to influence us more than we influence it, by responding with negativity and becoming ourselves a negative person. Rather, we can work toward turning difficult situations around by engendering cooperative efforts. We can also respond with more patience and understanding and be an influence for the better.


To read more on a related topic, see our previous article, The Toxic Musician and assess your own professional image.


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