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  • AJ Cheponis

Yes, The Golden Rule is Dead.

Updated: May 11

Like so many people, I was raised on the Golden Rule, Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you. This concept was drilled into me at school, at church, and by my parents. And it made good sense at the time. But the Golden Rule is passé today, especially in the workplace.


I recently worked with a group of 15 executive-level leaders, teaching them the basics of behavioral analytics, and each of them found it hugely informative to understand the behavioral drives and motivational needs of their direct reports. And in every case, the people who worked for them had very different behavioral profiles than they did. So, these leaders would be off base from the get-go if they applied the Golden Rule at work! How much more effective could they be if they adopt the rule “do unto others as they want to be treated.”


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Let’s take this from the theoretical to the concrete, and you’ll see why this is important. I was called in to help two highly skilled people at a client company who were not getting along. The manager, Anthony, is a serious guy about his career; he cares about quality, accuracy, and precision, and he is an expert in his field. As his industry morphed over the past 10 years, he has kept abreast of all the developments. Beth came to work for him about 6 months ago, and she too has some excellent experience, but she has been disengaged under his careful watch. She told me she feels “demotivated” by his micro-managing style.


Anthony didn’t understand that Beth’s style and needs were quite different from his. She is creative and prefers an environment where she can reach her goals in her own way. She is a successful professional, so it really wasn’t necessary for Anthony to supervise her so closely. Beth learned when we talked it through that Anthony’s behaviors were motivated by his desire for details and clarity on expectations. Anthony was going out of his way to treat Beth as he would have liked to be treated. But she wanted the exact opposite.


How do managers discover what management style will work best for their employees? Open communication, two-way feedback, and an honest, direct approach are key. And if you want to save time and add objectivity, using our behavioral assessment will highlight exactly what you need to know!


Our behavioral assessment is designed to be the most effective, simple, and easy-to-use science-based assessment period. It provides an accurate depiction, or pattern, of people’s core drives, and therefore insight into their needs and behaviors.


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