Good Leaders Don’t Follow The Golden Rule
Earlier today, we hosted friends for lunch in our home for the first time in a long time. It felt so normal. I hope we are all headed in that direction in the year ahead.
During our conversation, one of our friends complained that a good friend of hers keeps insisting on communicating with her via telephone. Going through a tough time right now, our friend prefers communicating with people by text rather than by phone.
Nevertheless, her friend keeps insisting they should talk by phone. My friend believes it’s an issue of control.
My friend’s story reminded me of one of the most valuable leadership lessons I have ever learned.
Growing up, I was taught by my parents and teachers to always follow the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you.” Living in a busy and complicated world, this rule sounded logical and meaningful to me.
As I learned more about leadership, I came to understand a different valuable lesson: not everybody possessed the same values, priorities and objectives as I did. Therefore, believing that everybody would want to be treated like I would want to be treated was a dangerous assumption.
So many people think that others see the world the same way they do. Workplace leaders frequently make this assumption. So often, it gets them into trouble. We cannot make that mistake if we wish to be exemplary leaders; we must not assume that the people with whom we work, especially the colleagues we lead, wish to be treated, communicated with, or managed the same way that we would.
The only way to truly grow into our best leadership self is to get to know the people with whom we work as human beings, not just employees. This requires us to practice not the Golden Rule, but the Platinum Rule.
The Platinum Rule was first coined by Dave Kerpen, the author of “The Art of People.” It differs slightly in wording from the Golden Rule, but the difference in meaning is vast.
The Platinum Rule is: “Treat others NOT as you would like to be treated, but as THEY would like to be treated.”
I wish when I was a young man, especially a young leader in the workplace, I had known this important Platinum Rule.
Do you know it?
Do you practice it?
It’s never too late to start a new habit!