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.
3. Don’t you like to feel appreciated? Well, so do your employees. Appreciation is a more powerful motivator than the hope of getting a raise.
4. The No. 1 destroyer of relationships is anger. No one will like and respect you for getting angry. If you find yourself losing your temper often, you are accomplishing the opposite of what you want. You create a poisonous work environment in your skin care facility. You are letting people defeat you, and unwittingly encouraging them to do what you don’t want them to. When employees do something wrong, instead of getting angry, correct them calmly and respectfully.
5. Be forgiving. No one is perfect ... even leaders. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes. When you forgive people, they feel better and so do you.
6. Treat your employees like friends ... with boundaries. Just because you are treating your team members like friends, it doesn’t mean you have to give them everything they want or let them do whatever they want. People often need to say “no” to people and to indicate firm boundaries. But you should treat them like friends when you do so—not like enemies. If you have to turn down a request, preface it with, “I wish I could,” and provide a reasonable explanation as to why you can’t. If you need to reprimand someone, make it clear that you are trying to help them do a better job. If you have to penalize someone, do it with regret, as in, “I wish we didn’t have to do this to you, but … ,” and explain why.
7. Don’t defend yourself from criticism. Other people see your faults better than you do. When defending yourself from criticism, you are treating others like enemies, and you automatically lose because the defensive position is the weaker one. Others won’t respect you and are likely to continue attacking to encourage you to defend yourself. Even if they are wrong, criticism is their attempt to help, so appreciate it. You might learn something valuable.
8. Do not play the judge between spa team members. Even if anti-bullying policies require you to do this, it is a mistake. You will increase hostility between them as each one tries to convince you that they are right and the other is wrong. And the one you judge against will dislike you, too. If employees have a conflict, instruct them to talk with each other directly, and guide them to do it like friends, without anger.
Let the Golden Rule be your guide and people will be happy to work for you.
Israel “Izzy” C. Kalman is a psychotherapist and director of “Bullies to Buddies,” a program for ending hostility through the practical application of the Golden Rule. Through his seminars, workshops and DVD, Turning Workplace Hostility into Harmony, Kalman is revolutionizing the realm of personal and business relationships. He can be contacted at 866-983-1333.