Do You Follow the Platinum Rule of Leadership?


Do You Follow the Platinum Rule of Leadership?

In this article, Stephanie Soler explains how a simple shift in communication can help you to become both a trusted and respected leader.

As children, we learn the Golden Rule: treat others the way you want to be treated. There’s a major flaw in this thinking, and I see it again and again as I work with executives who struggle to connect with and influence the people around them.

The simple truth is that people are different. We can actually get into trouble when we assume the people around us are similar to us. Instead of the Golden Rule, follow the Platinum Rule: treat others the way THEY want to be treated.

My CEO friend had this insight recently. In a tough management team meeting, she realized her team was looking for a great deal of structure and guidance from her. She told me, “I like having a lot of runway. A lot of structure feels like micromanagement to me. I just assumed my team was the same. It dawned on me on the meeting that they needed something different.”

I see this play out in countless ways. Here are a few.

Motivation. What do you want?

Some of us are primarily motivated to get things done, quickly (task-oriented). Others crave building relationships and community (people-oriented). And others put their focus on creating order and clarity (process-oriented). Remember that what matters most to you may matter less to someone else. For more on what motivates different people, see the Strengths Deployment Inventory.

Positive feedback: How much praise and recognition do you like?

For some, positive information sticks. Ask them what they’re doing well, and they can quickly tell you. When you give them a great deal of praise, it can feel condescending and insincere. For others, positive information evaporates. They wrestle with self-doubt and insecurity. For these people, a great deal of praise is just what they need to build their confidence. Remember that others may hear positive feedback differently than you do.

Constructive feedback: How do you respond to advice and suggestions?

For some, coaching is energizing. The more you offer the better! For others, every piece of coaching feels like a personal failure and a statement on their overall performance. They need to hear one thing at a time, and it must be put into a larger context. Remember that others may hear constructive feedback differently than you do. Here’s a team leader guide based on the insightful book: Thanks for the Feedback.


Key points include:

  • Identifying motivators
  • Feedback tips
  • Perception of communication


Read the full article, Follow the Platinum Rule, not the Golden Rule, on LinkedIn.