The box overflows

Great Managers Break the Golden Rule. Oh Really?

I’ve been continuing my reading in First, Break All The Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently, and I was intrigued by the authors’ statement that the best managers break the Golden Rule every day. “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you.” Matthew 12:7 (NRSV) Most religions have a form of this Golden Rule; the Golden Rule makes sense; it’s practically a commandment, so why would anyone even suggest breaking it? Wouldn’t breaking it be blasphemous anyway and cause a whole lot of karmic repercussions to someone who would dare intentionally do such a thing?

Why would the authors of this book even go there? Wow! Break the Golden Rule…intentionally!

Well let’s calm down a bit and see what’s really going on here. Now the authors aren’t really suggesting that managers should treat their employees disrespectfully, but instead are suggesting that managers shouldn’t treat all employees the same, and shouldn’t assume that all employees have the exact same views and motivations as their managers and co-workers. People are different and aren’t all going to want or need the same things.

The Golden Rule is pretty simple. You want others to treat you well, so treat others well.  It doesn’t need to get as specific as treating other people exactly as if they were perfect clones of you.

So if great managers are treating their employees well by caring about them as individuals, recognizing their unique talents and needs, and helping their employees to use their uniqueness to achieve the highest degrees of excellence for both themselves and their respective organizations, then what rule are these managers really breaking? It certainly isn’t the Golden Rule. Nope, no way!  The rule that these great managers are breaking is Status Quo.

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