Steps to Management Success – Step 69: The Golden Rule Should Apply in Business

Written By Rick Frishman Published April 1st, 2010


The Golden Rule Should Apply in Business

Sometimes it may be necessary for you to criticize or even reprimand someone. Sometimes you may be angry at what someone did (or didn’t do), and be quite ready to inflict your wrath. All of this can be done in a stern yet professional way—but there is never any need to be cruel. Even if you can get away with it, you should stay away from it. It’s not just the right thing to do; it’s a more professional way to behave—and to do business.

WHAT IT MEANS: The Golden Rule doesn’t lapse at your company’s door. In other words, strive to treat your subordinates the way you would want to be treated if your roles were reversed. Most people do not appreciate being ridiculed or abused by their boss. They may fear it, and they may even respond to it, but they won’t respect it. Toxic bosses create toxic workplaces—demoralized workplaces where the top priorities become placating Mr. Blowhard and covering one’s flank. Turnover, fear, and loathing ensue—none of which serve your business very well.

ACTION PLAN: Manage with your head, not your hormones. Do not give yourself permission to treat anyone cruelly. The next time you sense your anger shift into overdrive and start to bubble over onto a subordinate or coworker, just STOP. Take a deep breath. And give yourself a time-out. It’s perfectly OK to say, “You know, I am so ticked off at you right now that I don’t even want to talk about this, so I’m going to give myself a few minutes to cool down and we can discuss this later.” What if you’re the victim of a tyrannically abusive boss? Unless you’ve adopted an effective coping strategy (and it is quite possible that there is none), my advice to you would be to seek employment elsewhere while your dignity and self-respect are still relatively intact.

EVEN BETTER: Strive to create a workplace where respect and common courtesy prevail. If you’re the boss, people will model themselves after your behavior. If you’re a manager, you can consistently and firmly indicate your position on anger management and zero tolerance of abusive behavior by members of your workgroup or team. In the stressful business world, there will inevitably be some emotional fireworks and flare-ups, and that’s tolerable. You don’t have to referee every argument or confrontation, but like a good referee, you should remind your “fighters” to fight “clean”—and you should not hesitate to step in and separate them if they don’t.

(Excerpted from: 10 Clowns Don’t Make a Circus. . . and 249 Other Critical Management Success Strategies by Steven Schragis and Rick Frishman)

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