So, do you treat employees the way THEY want to be treated or the way YOU want to be treated? It seems implausible that there would be a debate, but it’s a real issue many people and organizations are struggling to answer.
To create an engaging organizational culture (OC), it’s imperative that organizations live their values and philosophies through their actions. But how can you “live” your organization’s values if you are acting the way someone else wants you to act?
Jesus said in Luke 6:31 – “Do to others as you would like them to do to you.” This simple command is relevant to our perspective which asks each person to reflect on how THEY would want to be treated in a given situation. This perspective is what binds us together and allows leaders to explain how decisions are made with clarity and compassion.
As I’ve noted in previous blog posts, I have 2 simple rules of leadership:
- Treat people to way you want to be treated, and;
- Do the RIGHT thing
As leaders we sometimes have to make hard decisions. The fallacy of “treat others the way THEY want to be treated” is that as a leader you can never live up to that standard and if each person wants to be treated in a different way, you lose the ability to be consistent and explain how decisions are made. For example, as a leader you may have to make the difficult decision to discipline an employee up to and including termination. If you attempt to treat the employee the way they want to be treated, do you change your mind and ignore the issue because they don’t want to be held accountable? And what about the other employees who are having to take up the slack for the under-performing employee – what about the way they want to be treated?
The simplicity of Jesus’ command is that even in times of difficult decisions, you have the compassion to treat the under-performing employee with respect and dignity (because YOU would want to be treated with respect and dignity). In addition, as you consider what’s best for the entire organization your perspective of how would I expect to be treated if I performed in this manner becomes a guiding principle. In other words, if I wasn’t performing would I want someone to tell me and give me a chance to improve? You see, by considering it from YOUR perspective, you clarify how YOU make decisions based on your values and philosophies. The OC Equation™ provides the framework for consistency which in turn creates stability and trust within your organization.
The original servant leader was the greatest leader of all time and provided us with the framework needed to handle any situation that arises – who are we to second guess the teachings of the Master?