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Leadership is the 'Platinum Rule'

The Golden Rule. Feels like something most of us have known, and been taught, from when we were young - "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Basically, 'treat others as you want to be treated'. Simple enough, right?

While a very good concept as a basic thought & principle, to find success at work and in leadership, I always felt it needed to go one step further.

Several years ago I stumbled upon a concept called the Platinum Rule. I will attribute my learning to Dr Tony Alessandra (an originator of the concept, as far as I can tell, in this book from 1998).

The Platinum Rule simply states: treat others as they want to be treated.

While a very simple concept, it is profound in its application in the workplace, in leadership, and in our personal lives.

A couple of simple personal examples:

  • Years ago I received a gift from someone I know fairly well, and am close to. The gift was well-intended but was very obviously something this person would have chosen for themselves. The sentiment was basically, "I would love this gift, so I know Scott will as well."

Probably more of a 'Golden Rule' type gift (and for the record, it was not my wife. She is an excellent gift giver! LOL!)

  • A few years ago at work, I was talking with a certain manager about some recognition he was giving his team for a job well done on a certain project. He was very excited to call out the excellent performance of these team members. As he was talking through each person, he shared that for one person on his team, he was going to pull her aside, and in a private, 1:1 setting, express how important her contributions were, and how much he appreciated her. "Why not do that in front of the whole group?" I asked, thinking I was adding an element of excitement to his recognition. "Because she would hate that. She's told me." He replied, very matter of factly.

Wow!!! True "Platinum Rule" recognition - he did it in a style that she preferred, and would appreciate. I learned a lot about the Platinum Rule that day.

The best leaders I have ever known use this concept constantly - it is almost second nature to them. They communicate in a way the other person prefers; they also assign tasks, follow up, and check in the way the other person prefers.

I invite you to think about some of your own leadership practices - are you doing things as you would prefer, or can you shift your thinking to do things in a way that your employee(s) truly connect with?


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