Most of us grew up knowing about the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The only problem with the Golden Rule is that it implies the basic assumption that other people would like to be treated the way that you would like to be treated. That is not always the case!

In reality, today’s leaders should operate by the Platinum Rule: “Treat others the way they want to be treated.” This rule accommodates the desires of others and shifts the focus to “let me first understand what my employees want, and I’ll figure out a way to give it to them.” Leaders don’t necessarily need to change who they are, but it does require an understanding of what drives people and recognizing the options for interacting with them.

So how do you put the Platinum Rule into practice? Let’s find out!

Appreciation Languages

One way to put the Platinum Rule into practice is by finding out your employee’s appreciation languages. Appreciation languages are the workplace version of the love languages created by author Gary Chapman. In his book, The Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, Chapman explains that understanding appreciation languages in the workplace can help managers effectively communicate appreciation and encouragement to their employees, which results in higher levels of job satisfaction, healthier relationships between managers and employees, and decreased cases of burnout. So what are the five appreciation languages?

  • Words of Affirmation: An immediate (or relatively real-time) thank you note, email, call, or face-to-face conversation to thank them for their efforts. When discouraged, employees who value words of affirmation respond best to positive comments about past or current achievements or contributions.
  • Quality Time: Regular, focused, uninterrupted time with a manager each week, to share progress or concerns, ask questions, or help plan career development. Team-building exercises or one-on-one lunches are essential for an employee who values quality time.
  • Acts of Service: Small acts that can be as simple as making coffee, offering to help on a project, using action words such as “I can” or “I will.”
  • Gifts: Small gifts that show you are thinking of the employee, such as a latte from their favorite coffee shop, ordering in lunch, or some complimentary time off. Birthday and workplace anniversary gifts are meaningful no matter how small the gesture is.
  • Physical Touch: A congratulatory handshake or similar gesture can go a long way with someone who values Physical touch.

Perception vs. Reality

The Society for Human Resource Management discovered that 51 percent of supervisors say they recognize employees who do a good job, but only 17 percent of the employees at the same organizations report that their supervisors do well at recognizing them. Perception isn’t always reality, huh? Leaders, you must find out what makes your employees feel valued and recognized! You must stick to the Platinum Rule and find out what your employees appreciate the most!

Universal Truths

No matter what appreciation language your employees have, every employee has a need for a challenge as well as a strong line of communication with their employer.

Make sure you offer growth opportunities to each individual within your organization. Every role comes with less-than-glamorous responsibilities, but it’s important to balance out mundane tasks with challenging assignments. When you only dole out repetitive responsibilities, you’re conveying that you don’t really need or appreciate a person’s individual talents.

When you assign an employee a challenging task and put your trust in them to come through you are saying,  “I know you’re capable of this, and I trust you to do a great job.” 

So how do you maintain an open dialogue with your employee?  This means keeping an open space for your employees to talk about their ideas in a way that speaks to their emotions and aspirations. Create opportunities for open discussion around initiatives and policies. In the absence of communication, employees fill the void with often-incorrect tidbits of information. Avoid this by communicating as often and as openly as you can. Allow people to have insight into the decision-making process and the lines of communication will remain open. Ultimately, the two greatest needs for a challenge and open line of communication will be met and your employees will rise in productivity!

Put the Platinum Rule into practice today and see your results before you know it!

About Us

With over 90 years of Logistics experience, Top Talent is a recognized leader in Talent Acquisition for Logistics, Transportation, and Supply Chain., Let us put our team to work for you. To learn more about successful strategies for getting those impact players and game-changers on your team, reach out to us today.

– Michael Monson
President and CEO
Top Talent LLC