Simon Sinek is an author, speaker, consultant, and adjunct professor. He has been on a multitude of media outlets sharing his wisdom about personal and professional fulfillment. From NPR to The Blaze, Sinek has given commentary to the struggles of the average working person. He often says that 80% of people go home at the end of the day feeling unfulfilled and uninspired by the work that they do. His mission is to flip that statistic on its head. His TEDx talk is currently listed as the 3rd most view video on TED.com.
Much of my passion for what I do began when a friend of mine showed me Sinek’s video shown below. After watching his presentation I bought both of his books, Start With Why and Leaders Eat Last. Written just as he speaks, these books are very easy reads. You can feel his passion in the words on the page. I have returned to his books for reference repeatedly and I form my own opinions and pursue fulfillment.
If you would like to learn more about Simon Sinek, you can view his website here. and his books are listed below.
I am excited to share one of my favorite books for this week’s Inspiring Words post. I have listened to it on tape and read it several times. Each time through, I find wisdom missed and am reminded of the author’s deep understanding of the human spirit. The author is known psychologist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl. His book is titled Man’s Search for Meaning
Man’s Search for Meaning
Written in 1946, MSfM spends its first half chronicling Frankl’s horrific experiences being imprisoned in Auschwitz. He retells the struggles experienced, lives lost, and the lessons learned about purpose to the human soul. The stories are gripping and heartwrenching as you read about the horrors of dehumanization and the power of the human will.
“An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior.”
Few would have been able to experience such an ordeal and respond with such love and compassion for humanity. Upon reaching the end of his story, Frankl commences entrusting the reader with the fundamental wisdom which he obtained from his experience: that a human being, without purpose for his or her life, will lose hope, motivation, and even the will to live.
“In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning, such as the meaning of a sacrifice.”
Power of Purpose
Frankl’s words on the power of purpose are universal. No matter the circumstances of your challenges, Frankl’s wisdom will help you reconnect to your unique purpose. He calls for us to recognize that true purpose is only possible when we recognize and connect to something bigger than ourselves. When a greater purpose is found we find fulfillment and the will to continue.
“For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself.”
Man’s Search for Meaning is a short but impactful read. I recommend it to each and every one of you. If you are interested in getting the book, then you can find it here.
“But there was no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bore witness that a man had the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer.”
I strive for a lot of things.
Financial security, professional fulfillment, secure and loving relationships, an endless supply of crab legs… I could go on, but now I’m thinking about crab legs.
Most of all, I think I strive for a sense of contentment. You all know the feeling I’m talking about. It’s like a physical sensation; the sense of pure satisfaction with how your life is now. Peace manifest.
However, as confident as I am that you understand the feeling of contentedness, I am just as confident about something else:
That contentment is misunderstood.
The Misunderstanding of Contentment
You see, we live in a world which has made some decisions about life without our input: What a man or woman can and cannot be, what success looks like, what is realistic, what is idealistic, how we should all spend our time, and what contentment is and isn’t.
Think about the concept of contentment for a moment. Many of us probably picture a Terry Redlin painting of a cabin or a sunny day on the porch. We picture simplicity. But how many of us truly feel contented in such simplicity? Perhaps for a while, but as time rolls on we begin to stir. We begin to look for purpose beyond the front steps of the easygoing life.
We grew up hearing that this is what being content means; that we need to accept how things are. We are told that if we ask for more, then we aren’t content – we’re selfish. What once was a word that meant to be fully and completely happy in your life has now become synonymous with the relinquishing of our dreams.
Rarely do I hear someone say that they are content with their life without a passion being surrendered to the obligation of contentment.
“Yeah…I would love to quit my job and do what I really love, but I have to be content with where my life is now.”
Contentment is Not About Giving Up Our Dreams
When did we consign our futures to this concept of ‘just accept it; it’ll never happen’? How did we take the definition of contentment – the state of happiness and satisfaction – and conclude that it meant to stop striving for what truly matters to us?
Living a life that is contented is no less active than the pursuit of one’s purpose. In fact, only through zealously pursuing your purpose can you achieve any sense of contentment. How are we to achieve happiness and satisfaction without living out of our purpose? Is the act of living out of your purpose not the fulfillment of a contented life?
There may be times when you find yourself in a moment of peace; the hustle of the world seeming to hold pause. In these moments, you may find the only word that describes how you feel is ‘contented.’ Simplicity provides its own fulfillment. Honor those times, and provide yourself with these respites. Nevertheless, be assured that contentedness is found in equal abundance while experiencing the tension of pursuit.
Moments of peace are only possible by accompanying a life of action.
A Life of Action
Have you ever completed a high-stakes task or conversation, only to come out the other end exhilarated? As if you had just accomplished something so fulfilling, that few other experiences more effectively manifest who you truly are than this moment in time? Is an individual, actively connected to their purpose, less contented than those living a simple life?
Our world’s broken definition of contentment demands that we abandon our passions in the name of simplicity. Remember that true contentedness is not possible without the realization of purpose. We will never know what it is to be content without chasing the life we were born to live.
So chase your passions, fight for fulfillment, and live a life contented by achieving your purpose.
In grad school, I had a professor who had a phrase she would say when students felt stuck. “My freezer was never cleaner than when I was completing my own thesis.”
No matter the job, we can all find ourselves, now and again, given a task that is either overwhelming or difficult to even start. These times can be incredibly annoying. They can keep us focused on how difficult the task is, and how we have no idea where to start; feeling completely stuck. Other times, we may become so overwhelmed with the task that we set it aside, hoping it will disappear.
Instead of being frustrated with the process, here are 5 techniques you can use to get yourself un-stuck.
1.Break It Down
One of the easiest ways of getting overwhelmed with a task is to look at it in its entirety. Instead, take the task and break it down into individual tasks. If the individual tasks still seem overwhelming, then repeat the process and break each task down even further. Do this until you can find the steps of each task manageable.
After the tasks have been separated, create a to-do list using those tasks. Be sure to create a list that is as linear as possible. This will help you avoid missing steps and help you conceptualize the process more easily.
It should also be noted that this process is incredibly helpful for not only when you’re stuck, but routine tasks that require a high level of accuracy. By breaking down the task process into the individual actions and then putting those actions on paper, you will maintain accuracy no matter how many times you complete the task. Make these process lists for every action that could benefit from having one, then save those for future use.
Trust me, you will thank yourself for putting in the extra work.
2.Make A Move, Then Reassess
Let’s face it, there are tasks we have to accomplish which are completely foreign to us. The task requires us to take action but gives us no observable starting point. There are times you are able to ad-lib your way through and come out the other end looking only a little bruised, but many times you simply have nothing on which to go. For those occasions, the last thing you will want to do is to continue searching for a starting point. This will waste time, energy, and patience.
Instead, simply start.
Once you actually make a move, you will be able to see what effect your action has on the issue. Once you are able to see the ripples from your action, you should be able to get some bearings for how the task need to be completed.
In other words, make an educated guess and be flexible to redirection.
Most of the time, this first action comes in the form of a question directed toward someone you think may have the answer. In this instance, the individual will either have an answer to your question or have an idea of where you should go for your answer.
Remember to be humble and recognize that you don’t have all of the answers. It’s important that you have the willingness to ask questions, even if you feel that you will be viewed as a fool. It’s better to be thought a fool but complete the task correctly than it is to be thought completely capable and fail in your responsibilities.
There is a reason why so many professionals require Continuing Education Units to maintain licenses and effectiveness in their field. Even professionals not required to obtain CEUs often attend conferences and seminars. This practice is not only to maintain relevance in the field. It also gives professionals the opportunity to be reminded of the basics.
No matter what your profession requires, pursue education opportunities. Read books, listen to podcasts, watch videos, take classes or go to conventions. By maintaining a posture of lifelong learning, you will help yourself by both reducing the occurrences of overwhelming and foreign tasks and increase your ability to learn new concepts and new responsibilities quickly.
4. Have The Courage To Be Imperfect
Continually remind yourself that tasks like these, where you have little to no information outside of the desired result, occur more frequently that we realize. You won’t be able to successfully complete every aspect of your job without the support and the willingness to make mistakes. If your mission is to complete your duty without error, then you won’t be able to accomplish anything.
As Teddy Roosevelt said, “The only man who never makes a mistake is a man who never does anything.”
Remember to do your best and learn from the mistakes you will make.
5. Get It Running And Don’t Stop
While this step isn’t so much about starting something difficult as it is about what needs to happen after you have successfully gotten un-stuck. Once you have momentum, keep it going. This means to avoid especially long breaks, shifting to social media for a moment, checking e-mails or voicemails…really anything.
Once you have your train on the tracks, you will want to keep that focus until the job is done or there is a clear break point. If you step away for too long, you will run the risk of losing your initiative and will have to start over. So get yourself moving and don’t allow yourself to slow down!
This week I want to share with you one of my favorite scholars. The author of 2 #1 New York Times Bestsellers, and 7 published works in all, Brené Brown is a professor at the University of Huston Graduate College of Social Work where she completes research to further her understanding of authenticity, leadership, shame, and vulnerability. Brené’s TED talks have been viewed several million times, inspiring viewers the world over with her expertise.
Brené Brown on empathy
While Brené has some fantastic videos, podcast interviews, and books, I have decided to show an example of her work in the video below which focuses on the difference between empathy and sympathy.
I hope you enjoy the video and find inspiration to do more good to those around you!
If you would like to learn more about Brown and her work, I have listed some of her works along with her main website below.
Video Copyright of RSA
“I have an open door policy for all my employees.”
We hear this all of the time from leaders. But what does it mean to have an open door policy?
What does it look like?
Is there a good way and a bad way of practicing this policy?
In order to answer these questions, I have compiled a checklist for making the most of practicing an open door policy while avoiding the pitfalls.
1. Consistent reminders
Never assume that your staff understands the sincerity of your policy. Whether it is because they never think their question or thought is worthy of taking advantage of your open door, or they simply forget that the policy exists, consistently remind your staff of your open door policy.
Don’t assume that your staff is always under the impression that you can be approached. Make a note of it at the end of meetings, thank the staff that has taken advantage of the policy and use that staff as an example. There is no reason to have an open door policy as a leader if your staff doesn’t remember to use it!
2. Close your door when you’re unavailable.
One way to undermine your attempts to practice an open door policy is to keep your door open no matter what. Every job has tasks that require 100% of your attention for an extended period of time to accomplish.
If you require not being interrupted, then show that by closing your door. Leaving your door open while you are unavailable will confuse your staff and add unnecessary ambiguity to what you or open door policy really is.
So close your door if you need to focus and open it back up once you finished your task. This will show that when your door is open you really are available while also acting as an example of healthy boundaries at work.
3. Get up and move
An open door policy is just as much a metaphor as it is a literal behavior. Show your availability by taking a walk around the floor or standing in your doorframe. Your physical presence can act as a reminder that you are there for your staff; available for questions or conversations.
However, be sure to take care knowing how this is coming off to your staff. This behavior can easily backfire; overwhelming staff or making it seem like you don’t trust them. This can be managed by asking yourself the purpose behind any questions you ask your staff.
Focus conversations at this time on light topics or reminders that would have been sent through e-mail. You are attempting to reach out to your staff and show them that you are not only often available to speak in person, but you prefer it to the separation caused by Internet communication.
Essentially, you are exemplifying the behavior you would like to receive.
4. Allow a wide range of conversation topics.
This is either music to your ears or the dreaded downside of the open-door policy. Just as it was stated in #3, the purpose of the open door policy is so that your staff may enter your office and talk with you. This, however, comes with its own drawbacks; especially if you are not one for idle chitchat.
Along with the routine job-related questions, it is not uncommon for staff to utilize your open door policy to ask you questions that may be better referred to other employees or simply communicate on a personal level. Depending upon your communication style you will either redirect the majority of these interactions, welcome them or be ambivalent.
No matter your personal communication style, respect the fact that your staff is regarding you as someone whom they can approach about these subjects.
5. Use it to develop relationships
Take time to understand where your boundaries are so that you are aware of what you are, and are not, comfortable talking about and with whom. Remember, idle chitchat is not idle if the relationship is being strengthened by the contact.
Many work environments expect approximately 80% productivity. This means that out of every 8 hour work day, staff are expected to complete 6 solid hours of work. This 2-hour lax time takes into account the need for taking breaks and building camaraderie. Be sure to allow yourself time to not only be productive with work tasks but be productive developing relationships with your staff.
Remember: You are a leader, and a true leader’s responsibility is to those whom they lead. An open door policy is an invaluable practice that can help develop a trusting and supportive culture. Maintain awareness of your actions and continue nurturing your workplace culture.
What are your experiences with using an open-door policy?
Leave your stories, suggestions, and questions in the comments below!
In the desire to provide you with wisdom pertaining to professional fulfillment and leadership development, I have decided to begin a series of posts where I bring you books, videos, and podcasts which I have found to be particularly insightful.
So, to begin this new topic, I have a fantastic TEDx talk by Larry Smith. Larry is an Economics professor at the University of Waterloo. With such dry and, at times, dark humor, Larry makes a compelling argument for those who leave greatness up to chance and make excuses for why they didn’t pursue their dreams earlier, if at all. Nearing 3 million views, this powerful presentation will challenge your fear of taking the leap to pursue your passions. I hope you find it as empowering as I do!
If you would like to learn more about Larry Smith, you can click here to read an interview done by Forbes.
This video is copyrighted by TEDx Talks. All videos are insightful. Find more here.
What are your thoughts about finding a fulfilling career?
Leave your thoughts, suggestions, and questions in the comments below!
We all have those moments at our jobs; in our teams. Mutual understanding about each person’s strengths and weaknesses navigates the team through shifts in the industry landscape and large projects that stretch each person to their limits. The flow of the office makes it feel like a second home and a second family.
Until one day.
This Staff Member Struggled
It may be a new hire entering the workplace, a shift in the workforce that adds a new team member to the mix, or a change in leadership causing the work culture to shift in a way that one of your teammates does not approve. No matter what the case may be, your teammate, new or old, now has one main feat to overcome. Above and beyond the orientation process for new staff, learning new vernacular, and finding a way to keep their head above water with their tasks, this individual must now discover how they fit into the team system.
For the majority of staff in the past, the process was smooth; with only a few speed bumps. However, this staff member struggled. Greatly. The struggle became so unbearable that the other members of the team began to feel it.
The Effect of One Person
It can be stunning how much impact one individual’s struggles can impact the entire team system. As a leader, you may ask yourself if you made the right choices, or if this struggling individual is speaking the truth that no one else wants to hear.
Your certainty about your place as a supervisor may falter, making you question even your own abilities. You may even begin to wonder if the culture you have fostered and nurtured is as healthy as you think it is. In these moments, the last thing that will help you is to feed into those thoughts.
Don’t take a teammate’s struggle with the workplace culture as evidence of an unhealthy environment. Rather, use it as an opportunity to confirm that your purpose is still clear and that the team is still functioning on the same wavelength. If you find that adjustment is required to reconnect with your company’s purpose, then appreciate the staff for bringing the issue to light and respond accordingly to rectify the issue. However, if you find that, outside of this one employee, the company continues to thrive, then act as a support for this struggling individual in their discovery that they will be happier in another venture.
If you find that adjustment is required to reconnect with your company’s purpose, then appreciate the staff for bringing the issue to light and respond accordingly to rectify the issue. However, if you find that, outside of this one employee, the company continues to thrive, then act as a support for this struggling individual in their discovery that they will be happier in another venture.
Purpose Creates Passion
When a company is connected to their purpose, passion is produced. This passion causes others to make one of two decisions: Either a) they agree and become likewise empowered by the mission, or b) they disagree and create friction. In the second case, the employee must determine if this friction is something that they can live with and will help them grow, or if the difference is too great and they must part ways. Occasionally, these individuals will become stuck; jaded against a work culture that drains them of their energy. This unwillingness to acknowledge that they are
In the second case, the employee must determine if this friction is something that they can live with and will help them grow, or if the difference is too great and they must part ways. Occasionally, these individuals will become stuck; jaded against a work culture that drains them of their energy. This unwillingness to acknowledge that they are
Occasionally, these individuals will become stuck; jaded against a work culture that drains them of their energy. This unwillingness to acknowledge that they are a better fit elsewhere ends in a resignation that can be painful and challenging to recover from.
How A Leader Should Act
It’s right for a leader to maintain focus in these challenging times. Although disagreement is uncomfortable, it’s better for the company and the employee that both parties remain authentic to themselves; even when it means going their separate ways.
Work cultures willing to disagree foster growth and passion for the work being done. The downside of this authentic workplace culture is that not everyone believes in the same thing. Really, the only way to maintain an agreeable culture is to agree with everything but stand for nothing.
Notice that I described this culture as agreeable but not fulfilling. This is because without standing for something, purpose cannot be realized. We are creatures of purpose so if we took and struggle with no apparent purpose, then there is no fulfillment to be had. Sadly, there are countless companies and relationships that behave in an agreeable manner; stealing away any opportunity for their staff to be fulfilled by the work that they do.
The Trouble With Inauthenticity
Like a budding relationship, the two people are focused solely on getting the other person to like them. So they lie. It’s not to be inauthentic; often it isn’t even realized until later. However, at that point, they have to make a decision to either continue with the charade or risk losing the other person by coming clean.
Many times they fake it because they care more about having the other person like them than being authentic. So goes the life of an agreeable company courting new or struggling employees.
In most ways, these agreeable companies are harder off than the clearly struggling firms. While dysfunction is a sign of an unhealthy business, universal agreeability is a sign of a dead company. Within a struggling agency friction occurs, discussion of the struggles take place, and honest recognition that something needs to change is a daily occurrence. Just as in a healthy company, but perhaps with more wrong turns and off road traveling.
So, if there is a scale from 0-10 (10 being best) where struggling teams, agreeable teams, and healthy teams are ranked, the agreeable team is listed as 0; not the struggling one. This is because struggling teams are past denial and recognize there is dissonance. We don’t fight for one side or another if we are maintaining apathy.
By arguing, we are taking a stand; drawing a line in the sand. If everyone is apathetic toward the issues, then nothing gets done. At least in a dysfunctional system, there is movement; there is passion.
Passion is present in the struggle. When words become sharper, and methods are defended or attacked, passion is permeating the room. When a struggling team is fighting against an issue, an agreeable company doesn’t even realize there is an issue in the first place.
So, use those times when your staff struggles openly as proof of your passion coming to fruition. Determine the health of your company; not by whether or not they argue, but how those arguments take place.
Each company and each team has their own work culture. In these cultures, every employee stands behind the purpose of their work. Not every culture functions the same. And so it is the responsibility of the employee to be honest with themselves – to pursue a culture where they will thrive, and it is the responsibility of the leadership to maintain the wisdom and awareness of the qualities of those who do fit their culture.
Beyond all else, be true to your company’s purpose. It is your compass and your map, steering you toward your final goal.
Accepting that there is a problem is the first step on the road to recovery. When a company realizes their hiring process is an issue, acceptance is the first step to fixing the problem. Here is a list of 7 common mistakes that companies make when hiring new staff.
1. Hiring with one position in mind
The automation of application filtering has in many ways streamlined the hiring process. At the same time, it has also shifted the method of hiring toward objectivity. The manager can type qualifications into their search and immediately get a list of applicants meeting those requirements.
This saves substantial time and energy by getting exactly what you ask for. It makes the process incredibly useful for companies that are hiring for only one position. The problem is, this is rarely the case of any company.
When this process of cherry picking candidates with only one position in mind, while a variety of positions are available within the same company, such rigidity of consideration is used to the detriment of both the candidates and the hiring team.
Instead, expand your search parameters to encompass multiple similar positions, even when hiring only with one job in mind. When interviewing candidates maintain a perspective of their skills, personality, and training, that allows you to recognize that, while they may not fit the job in mind, they may be better equipped to fill another available position.
2. Not fully utilizing the reference list
Reference lists are a necessity, and every hiring team knows it. These individuals are able to provide perspectives on the candidate that could take months or years to develop. Issues arise, however, when the questions asked of the references focus solely on the candidate’s functionality; how well they did their job.
Don’t misunderstand me; these questions are a fundamental factor in the usefulness of the reference list. What is just as fundamental, and is often underutilized, is the input these references can give regarding the candidate’s personality, strengths, weaknesses, and especially what environments cause the candidate to thrive or wither.
It doesn’t matter how well a candidate performed at a previous job if you don’t understand the context of that job.
3. Asking the ‘future question’ out of fear, rather than interest
We all know what I mean when I say the ‘future question:’ “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” It’s a fantastic question; often providing invaluable information about the candidate. That is, it can. Through my own experience, it has become apparent that companies approach this question in one of two ways. Either a) through sincere interest, or b) through the lens of damage-control.
If the hiring team asks the future question, motivated by the latter reasoning, little more than “how long can we keep you, and is it worth our while” can be learned from such a question. This question is reduced to a risk vs. reward inquiry.
However, if instead, a hiring team approaches this question out of sincere interest, a remarkable amount of data can be obtained from the candidate. This question provides an insight into their aspirations, their expectations, and their perspective on their own capabilities. Such a question can create a discussion between the candidate and the team focusing on if the candidate’s goals are complementary to the goals of the company.
This also references back to the first point in this list, hiring with one position in mind, as this question can provide an insight into the candidate to see if there is a position for which they are better suited.
4. Over-promoting the door prizes
I see this practice occurring constantly in the job market. A company that’s disconnected from their purpose can only win the interest and loyalty of their candidates by providing additional benefits.
“All new hires receive a free work cell phone and work computer!” or “meeting sales targets reward you with a company leased car!” While it can be argued that these “perks” are for the benefit of both the company and the employee as they often increase the employee’s ability to accomplish their job, it’s a mistake to advertise these benefits like a furniture store advertises door prizes.
In a purpose-driven agency, benefits are provided because they’re seen as tools that improve staff effectivness and satisfaction. They are not used to foster loyalty but are put in place out of a sincere desire to see each employee succeed. Ironically, they attempt of a company to buy the loyalty of their staff, they often lose it to the next company giving out better door prizes.
5. Hiring for the job rather than for the team
Many times companies put too much stock into how much training and experience candidates already have, forming their consideration of who is and isn’t a good candidate for their learned skill set. It doesn’t matter how well a candidate can perform their given task.
If their personality isn’t conducive to the style of the team, then they will inevitably become a detriment to that team’s success. Remember, you can always teach the necessary skills. The attributes of character are unchangeable and make all the difference.
6. Ignoring evidence-based tools
Just like misusing the reference list, many hiring teams make another mistake ignoring tools that will make their job easier. Evidence-based tools, like the Myers-Briggs personality test, the Strengths-Finder test, and Communication Style tests, provide invaluable insight into your candidate’s strengths, weaknesses, motivations, and interpersonal habits
This insight allows the hiring team to more effectively identify the best candidate and shift the placement of valuable candidates who are better suited for alternative positions.
The glaring lack of practice using these tests speaks to the continued challenges businesses face in reducing turnover, misplacing staff, and struggling to create cohesive teams within their departments. The hiring practice remains focused on prioritizing the skill set of the candidate rather than their ability to operate within a dynamic work environment.
7. Running an interrogation rather than having a conversation
No matter the scenario, discussion with each candidate is by-and-large the most effective way to complete a successful hiring process. While personality tools help by expediting the process in many ways, we are not able to fully understand how those test outcomes play out. We need to observe they play out directly through interaction with the candidate.
Interviews give the hiring team an opportunity to see if the individual meets the needs of the company. Simply stated, the interview should start and remain a discussion. The process of open-ended or situational questions was created to incite discussion and a deeper understanding of the candidate. However, these interviews can very easily become an interrogation.
When the interview shifts to an interrogation, desire for discussion no longer motivates each question. The desire to avoid making the wrong choice and costing the company thousands in turnover costs takes priority.
This subtle shift in motivation causes increased stress for both the candidate and the hiring team. The focus shifts away from finding the right person for the job and toward finding the cheapest option. This inevitably causes increased displacement and lowered morale, as the staff doesn’t feel understood or heard by their management.
It’s remarkable what insight a few simple conversations can give in the hiring process. Never underestimate the power of human interaction.
Currently, the employment process (hiring, firing, and employee longevity) revolves around the statistics of who to hire to avoid losing money. In 2015, The U.S. national turn-over rate, across all industries, was 16%. The average cost of that turnover was 20% of the employee’s annual salary.
This means that an employee taking in $50,000 annually would cost the company $10,000 to process out and replace. Thus, such a turnover rate would cost a company of 150 employees an average of $240,000 annually.
By shifting the hiring process to focus on hiring the right candidate for the team, rather than the right skills for the job, turnover rates lower, morale improves, and production can flourish due to better employee placement and team development.
The Golden Rule, “do unto others as you would have them do unto yourself” is a very selfish ideology.
While it may help us navigate good and helpful behavior from damaging behavior, the recognition that in order to be good to others, we must first think of ourselves and our preferences, highlights a tragic aspect of our culture.
Thinking Poorly Of Our Abilities
This perspective of the golden rule comes from a belief that human beings can’t do good without something mandating the good behavior. It’s pretty much saying that we are completely unable to think outside of ourselves. Therefore, to get as close to ‘goodness’ as possible, someone has made a list of rules or laws to show people that, although you can’t be good, at least you can be nice.
This method of pseudo-altruism fails to take into account the moral, ethical, and cultural beliefs of others. The mantra to ‘do unto others as you would wish done unto you’ may aid in guiding routine behavior. For example, “I want others to respect my views” makes complete sense. However, it doesn’t provide guidance on how to respect another’s origins and deeper convictions.
For one person it may be beneficial or culturally acceptable to outwardly challenge another person’s negative behavior, while another person may find such action to be obtrusive and insulting.
I wonder… What would happen if we changed the Golden Rule to read, “do unto others and they would wish done unto themselves?”
Amending The Golden Rule
I’m not saying that you need to discard your values. Rather, this change is recognizing that it’s possible to adapt your behavior towards others in a way that indicates your conscious regard of their life standards.
In the same way that a bilingual individual talking with a monolingual individual would speak the common language between them, this change to the golden rule provides a foundation of altruism instead of egocentrism.
All of this is vitally important in an office setting. This is where we separate someone in a leadership position and a true leader.
True Leaders vs. Leadership Positions
True leaders recognize that, while opinion and conviction can be relative, goodness is universal. A leader acts toward the betterment of others, recognizing that without fulfilling an individual’s convictions any action is futile.
Those lacking leadership abilities often provide support or direction from an egocentric perspective. Thus, they quickly become frustrated as their efforts produce few, if any, positive results.
True leaders recognize that it’s by acting out of the connection that binds us together that true change is possible. This is only accomplished by understanding each individual’s strengths, weaknesses, beliefs, and convictions, so as to speak directly to who they are.
These leaders act out of a belief that it’s not about forfeiting our convictions. They believe it’s about rallying others under the greater purpose that connects us all. It’s through the expansion of that sense of belonging, indiscriminately, that true forward movement and success are possible.
Encouragement is an individualized and empathetic practice. Without having the humility to set our perspectives aside and truly experience the world as others do, we cannot begin to provide the support and encouragement each human being deserves.
This amended golden rule allows for the dignity of each person to remain untarnished. It allows for the significance of each person to become amplified as it should be.
Have any thoughts, questions, or suggestions? Leave a note in the comments section below!