If I hold one philosophy dear, it is to treat others right. While it probably isn’t going to be quoted in a Philosophy textbook next to Immanuel Kant’s “Categorical Imperative” (although it should be), I think this can be summed up as “be cool to others.” Actually, that is just a modern update to Jesus’ “golden rule,” isn’t it?
Almost every day we see examples of people treating others like crap. Governments, businesses, and institutions tend to do this a lot, because the people in these entities can hide behind “inhuman” policies. Personally they would never treat someone that way, but they can hide behind the institution. But people do it too: they put lots of things like money, fame, the desire to avoid discussion, etc, before the needs of people.
Some of my friends have been dealing with the closing of a community organization. They are very upset that their organization – which was more like a family to them – has been closed by the powers that be. Unfortunately, while it probably is a good decision to close it (for financial and attendance reasons), the people who were affected by the closure weren’t actively involved in the decision-making process, and they had the decision sprung on them with only a few hours notice.
I know that people and institutions have to make tough decisions, and I get that. I make tough decisions a lot, but typically when I make a tough decision, people still like and admire me after it. Why? Because I try to treat people right and people know it. How do I do it? I will get into more detail in a future post, but basically I keep people up on what is happening, and express empathy for their situation. I also recognize their needs and try to meet them as best as possible, even if I can’t fully do that. Finally, I know the “art of the deal” and when I make tough decisions, I try to make deals that make things as good as possible for all involved (even though sometimes in tough situations there may not be much “good” to go around).
Most people are mature enough to know that you may have to make tough decisions. And, you should always make the right decision in an assertive way, if you believe it is right (of course part of what is “right” is that it makes life better for others – remember that!). However, you have to be cool to people in the process. When most people get angry at a decision, many times they aren’t so much angry at the decision, so much as the way everything went down. People like to retain their dignity, and to be valued and respected, even during tough times.
There comes a time when people will stop liking and admiring you or your institution if you don’t treat people right. Your organization will collapse, your business will fail, and you will be very lonely.
So treat people right.