Owner or Renter Mentality

In a recent blog post by Dan Ryan, Ryan Search and Consulting, Are Your Staff members “Owners or Renters”?, great leaders find a powerful metaphor about “owners or renters” and the mindset, attitude and behaviors they bring to life and the workplace.


  • May have some level of commitment, but may also be looking for the next place to rent on a regular basis
  • Understands what the basic rules are, but will usually not go outside the normal bounds when it comes to dealing with issues
  • May be put off by owners or those who seek to become owners versus renters
  • Might be looking for a way to reduce their investment in the company
  • Looking only at the short term, not the long term


  • Always looking for ways to make the workplace increase in value
  • Seek out other owners as potential partners for the current or future situation
  • Willing to put aside short-term needs in order to save for long term investments
  • Understand the concept of “sweat equity”
  • Looking for others who can help increase the value of the workplace

The renter mentality is “one that is short-sided and more inwardly focused versus being focused on the whole.” The owner mentality is one of commitment, individually and collectively to a shared purpose. One of the responsibilities of great leaders is continue to grow their “owners”, while converting the “renters” to “owners” by serving them to realize their potential and purpose.

Gail O’Keeffe writes about joy of ownership: “Owning your story, knowing your strength, tapping into your innate wisdom, practicing every day courage and living your life from the inside-out, authentically and wholeheartedly will set you free.” Be the owner of your life in all that you do and dream. Be more than you ever dreamed you could be … and more … so much more. Life is so very, very good.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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6 Responses to Owner or Renter Mentality

  1. Jack Beach says:

    Mike as you note, great leaders convert “renters” to “owners.” They do that by providing clarity about the organization’s vision, strategy, and ensuring each organizational member knows how they fit in to these and why they are essential to accomplishing them. Then they empower them. They give them challenging and meaningful work and, most important, the authority to make the decisions necessary to get the work done. Making decisions requires we use our judgment and make choices. Exercising freedom of choice transfers responsibility; it ignites the very potent and uniquely human experience of ownership. When we make choices, at some intra-psychic level, there is a declaration, silent but felt: “This is mine!” This sense of ownership deepens commitment, intensifies our sense of engagement, and strengthens our resolve to succeed. Thanks Mike.

  2. Ellen Fiascone says:

    Shouldn’t this line (The renter mentality is “one that is short-sided and more inwardly focused versus being focused on the whole.”) read The renter mentality is “one that is short-sighted ….”

    • Mike Reuter says:


      Hello on this beautiful day, my friend. Thank you for the catch. Yes, it should have read, as you said, “short-sighted.” It is so wonderful to be human. Please take care and be safe and well.

      Have a beautiful day and a magnificent weekend!!!


  3. Katie says:

    This is a highly offensive generalization, is an inaccurate characterization of renters and owners, and is inappropriate analogy for the workplace. I am a rental property owner, and these generalizations do not jive with reality. I’ve had long term renters and short term renters; long term and short term neighbors who own. The tenancy of housing does not inherently indicate someone’s interest, care, and investment in a home. I’ve had renters who put a lot of hard work in making their units cozy and comfortable and neighbor owners who care for their yard once per year. You may think that the act of ownership incentivizes owners to maintain the value of a home, but there are many busy or lazy owners who just don’t prioritize caring for a structure. I’d argue that culture is a much higher predictor of these qualities than housing tenancy.

  4. Paige Schultz says:

    I agree with you, Katie. Often, owners are working hard to pay mortgage, raise kids, look after family, businesses etc. Some are excellent at caring for their homes as well.
    There are many, however, who let their investment slide. It’s just not their top priority. Renters, on the other hand, will often treat their space as their kingdom. Sprucing it up with beautiful furniture and a warm retreat they call home. Many can actually afford a mortgage, but wisely, opt to rent given their own circumstances. It is not always smart to buy a home. I think it’s very arrogant to distinguish a person’s worth by whether or not they have “purchased” a home (via usually a mortgage thru a bank) or pay rent (not a mortgage thru a bank). Who is actually wealthier?

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