In a world where effective communication is the key to success, it's crucial to understand the different approaches one can take to ensure a harmonious and efficient workplace environment. While many of us grew up hearing about the Golden Rule – "treat others as you would want to be treated" – there's a more powerful approach that can revolutionize workplace communication: the Platinum Rule. This rule states, "treat others as they would want to be treated" and focuses on tailoring our behavior based on the individuals we interact with. In this blog post, we'll explore the importance of the Platinum Rule, its benefits, and tips on implementing it in your workplace.
Why the Platinum Rule?
The Golden Rule has served as a moral compass for generations, encouraging empathy and kindness in our interactions. However, the rule assumes that everyone wants to be treated the same way. The Platinum Rule recognizes that people have unique preferences, cultural backgrounds, and communication styles. By adjusting our behavior according to the other person's needs and desires, we create a more inclusive and supportive environment that fosters collaboration and productivity.
Benefits of the Platinum Rule at the Workplace
- Improved relationships: Adapting to others' communication styles and preferences helps create stronger connections, ultimately leading to more effective teamwork and collaboration.
- Increased empathy: By putting ourselves in another person's shoes, we become more understanding of their needs and feelings, which can help to foster trust, inclusion and a more supportive workplace.
- Enhanced productivity: When employees feel understood and respected, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated, which can result in increased productivity and overall success.
- Reduced misunderstandings: Taking the time to understand someone's preferred communication style can help prevent miscommunication, saving time and resources.
- Greater inclusivity: The Platinum Rule promotes diversity and inclusivity by encouraging understanding and respect for individual differences.
Real-World Applications of the Platinum Rule
Communicating appreciation: According to the 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace (Chapman & White, 2011), people have different preferences for how they like to receive appreciation. Some prefer words of affirmation, while others value quality time, acts of service, tangible gifts, or physical touch. Applying the Platinum Rule means understanding and respecting each person's preferred language of appreciation, ensuring that your gestures are meaningful and effective. (Source: https://teamspective.com/blog/5-languages-of-appreciation/)
Giving feedback: When providing feedback, it's important to consider whether the recipient prefers written or spoken communication. Some people might appreciate an email outlining their areas of improvement, while others may prefer a face-to-face conversation. Similarly some people want really candid and direct feedback while others prefer a more considerate approach. By adjusting your feedback delivery method and style based on the recipient's preference, you increase the likelihood of your feedback being well-received and acted upon. (Source: https://teamspective.com/blog/written-vs-spoken-feedback/)
Adjusting leadership style: Just as individuals have different communication preferences, they also respond differently to various leadership styles. Some may thrive under a more hands-on, directive approach, while others might prefer a more collaborative, coaching style. Applying the Platinum Rule as a leader means being willing to adapt your leadership style to meet the needs of your team members, ultimately fostering a more supportive and effective working environment.
Preparing for important presentations: When presenting information to a diverse audience, it's essential to take into account the different learning styles and preferences of your listeners. Some may prefer visual aids like graphs and charts, while others might respond better to verbal explanations or hands-on activities. Applying the Platinum Rule in this situation means tailoring your presentation style to cater to the various needs of your audience, ensuring that your message is clear and well-received.
How to Implement the Platinum Rule at your Workplace
Observe and listen: Pay attention to the communication styles and preferences of your coworkers. Implementing tools like Pulse Surveys allow every employee to safely express their opinion or perspective on topics such as inclusion, autonomy or amount of support available. This will help you better understand the differing needs and identify how to interact with them effectively. Additionally, pulse surveys help you identify other issues in teams that can be improved with the help of Platinum Rule.
Ask for feedback: Regularly ask your coworkers to give feedback about your interactions with them: “What am I doing well, and what would you hope for me to do differently?”. Ask feedback particularly about your communication style to understand better individual preferences of each employee. Feedback tools built for this purpose (see Teamspective) can help you collect feedback easily and without creating unnecessary stress for the other party.
Ask questions: If you're unsure about someone's preferences, don't hesitate to ask. Simple questions like "How do you prefer to receive feedback?" or “What parts of our company (or team) mission and strategy resonate the best with you?” can go a long way in fostering better communication.
Be ready to adapt: Remember that everyone has unique experiences, backgrounds, and perspectives. Approach each interaction with empathy and an open mind, and be willing to adjust your communication style based on the needs and preferences of others. This may involve varying your tone, language, or method of communication. You should still “be you” and act genuinely, we’re talking about small adjustments here.
Educate yourself and practice empathy: Learn about different communication styles, cultural norms, and potential barriers to effective communication. This will help you better understand and adapt to the diverse needs of your coworkers.
Your Toolkit for Building Efficient Workplace Communication
The Platinum Rule offers a more flexible, inclusive approach to workplace interactions, focusing on understanding and meeting the needs of others. By implementing this rule, you'll not only create more harmonious relationships with your coworkers but also become more effective and productive in your interactions. Embrace the Platinum Rule, and witness the transformative impact it can have on your workplace.
At Teamspective, we create technology that helps you implement the Platinum Rule at your workplace and create a thriving and inclusive company culture. Teamspective’s Pulse Surveys allow you to listen to your employees in real-time and track the most crucial metrics for employee engagement, wellbeing and DEI. It takes only 30 seconds to answer pulse questions in Slack or MS Teams. Automatic reports and actionable guidance make sure that leaders know what are the main issues in their teams and how to act on them.
Teamspective’s Smart 360 Feedback helps both managers and employees get a continuous flow of quality feedback and meaningful recognition. One can request and share feedback directly in Slack or MS Teams. In-app guidance ensures quality of feedback and helps develop feedback skills continuously.
Interested in trying out Teamspective’s solutions? Book a call with us here or sign up for a free account.