I grew up learning the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” In other words, treat other people the way you want to be treated. Sounds like a great suggestion for managers, doesn’t it? Wouldn’t you be a great boss if you followed that rule?
In fact, you might be a lousy boss if you followed that rule.
People are different. Each of us is motivated by different things, works best in a certain way, sees the world in a unique fashion, needs a different management style.
Some people are motivated by money, and by financial security. Others are driven to be in control of their destiny and the destiny of others. Some people love the search for knowledge, while others just want to help other people get what they want. Some people love tradition, while others thrive on change. Some want a beautiful workplace, while others couldn’t care less if they are working in a messy, dark, dank hole. Some people love the big picture, while others live for details. Some people need a manager who is fiercely competitive, while others just want to get along. And so on.
What works for you is not likely to work for all the people who report to you.
So how do you find out what works for the people who report to you? Start by asking. I’ve written before about monthly coaching sessions. Use those sessions to find out what motivates each employee. Ask what each employee does best, and what each employee loves to do. Ask employees about the most memorable recognition they have received. Ask everything you can think of to build your understanding of each employee.
Outside of the monthly coaching sessions, pay attention to what employees say and how they act. You should be able to pick up clues from their language and actions as to their behavioral styles and motivators. If you have access to the DISC profile, take it and have your employees take it. Discuss the implications with each.
In short, do everything you can to figure out what fuels each of your folks, and then provide that fuel for each.
That’s the Platinum Rule for managers: Do unto others as they would have you do unto them.
None of these thoughts are new, nor exclusively mine. I did a quick search on Google's Blogs page and found a few links you might find useful:
Tony Alessandra wrote one of my favorite books on the Platinum Rule (The Platinum Rule: Discover the Four Basic Business Personalities and How They Can Lead You to Success ). Here's a link to an article and a video about Tony.
Alisa sees the Platinum Rule as adding empathy to the Golden Rule. Nice summary!
Tammy Lenski reviews another book about the Platinum Rule: The Usual Error: Why We Don't Understand Each Other and 34 Ways to Make It Better