“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
I would bet, like the rest of us, you learned this Golden Rule in Kindergarten and you were probably raised to believe you should always treat others as you would want to be treated.
It sounds great in theory, and I applaud your kindness and compassion, but make no mistake, the Golden Rule does not work when developing people.
It’s true. The sentiment is nice, but it just doesn’t work.
You need to throw out the Golden Rule because people are complicated, and what feels good to one person does not feel good to another. If you make the false assumption that someone you are coaching wants what you want, or likes what you like, you will cause them to feel misunderstood and also limit your ability to grow them.
Let me explain. Meet Molly Manager and Sam Seller:
Molly Manager: highly competitive, loves contests, believes it’s always fun to win, loves her “deal of the day” program!
Sam Seller: Relationship-driven, hates competition, extremely driven by the opportunity to provide top-notch service to clients and help them get business results.
Molly Manager cares about her people and she always obeys the golden rule. She knows how exciting competitions and winning can be for her so she is sure that Sam Seller will catch the bug! She digs in her heels and remains determined to motivate him.
What do you think — will it work?
Of course not. Armed with good intentions, Molly will just further demotivate Sam as she pushes all the wrong buttons.
So, what should she do?
Molly, like all managers, needs to instead practice what we call the Platinum Rule which means she needs to understand what makes him tick and treat him in the way he want to be treated.
The good news is that, with a little bit of legwork, it’s pretty easy to do. Molly only needs to do these two things:
- Understand his natural abilities — She should start by understanding Sam’s strengths and weaknesses so she knows exactly what she’s working with and how Sam needs to be motivated and managed.
- Understand what he needs from his manager — She should then use an instrument like The Individualized Management Questionnaire to learn how he likes to be recognized, corrected, motivated, and challenged.
I encourage you to stop misjudging others, assuming they will respond the way you do and instead give the Platinum Rule a shot.
Understand their talents and what they expressly need from you and you will find you use less energy and achieve greater results! And those you manage will be happier, more productive, and improve performance.
Now that’s worth more than the price of gold!