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Wise people have known for thousands of years that the secret formula for harmony is the Golden Rule: Treat others the way you would like to be treated if you were in their situation. You may think you know what this means, but may not fully understand it. The message is radical, and it is contrary to human nature, which is to treat others the way they treat you. When others are nice to you, you feel like being nice back to them. When they are mean to you, you feel like being mean back to them. However, if you treat others the way they treat you, you are putting them in control of you. Their behavior determines your behavior.
The Golden Rule puts you in control. It means you should be nice to people even when they are mean to you. Before long, they will be nice to you because they are programmed to treat you the way you treat them. In short, when you respond to hostility with hostility, hostility escalates. When you respond with kindness, hostility disappears.
The following are some practical guidelines for operating by the Golden Rule.
1. Don’t come across as a bully. Social science experiments have demonstrated unequivocally that when people are placed in positions of power, they very quickly start abusing their power without necessarily being aware of it. Don’t be fooled by your title. Just because you are a boss doesn’t mean you are any better or smarter than the people who work under you.
2. Don’t blame problems on others. If you want people to like and respect you, take responsibility for solving problems. You are the boss.