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Leadership Thought #239 – Everyone Has Value (And Should Be Treated That Way)

November 2, 2011

Free People Taking Group Picture Stock Photo

In work and life, it’s important to never forget that everyone has value and should be treated that way.  I find that how someone regularly treats other people, regardless of their status or physical appearance, is a good barometer of that person’s character.  In our society we have come to worship fame, beauty, power, and wealth much more than we should.   In all levels of society results should and do matter, however, they are not all that matter.  Allowing a fellow human being to maintain his/her dignity and self-respect regardless of the circumstances is equally important.

Not everyone is made to scale the mountaintop or live a life of luxury.  In fact, it is impossible to make this happen from a socioeconomic standpoint.  However, in all cases, the people who got there wouldn’t have made it without the diligent work and effort of countless other people.  No one ever achieves success alone despite what some books or talking heads may want to tell you.  There are no completely self-made men or women.   The best leaders intuitively understand this and approach their relationships and interactions with a win-win mindset because you never know when you will need to rely on the goodwill and understanding of a fellow human being.  There was a movie called “Grand Canyon” many years ago that did a wonderful job illustrating this fact.

This doesn’t mean that people don’t deserve to get fired or be held accountable for their decisions.  We all must learn to live with and accept the consequences of our actions.  However, it does mean that how we treat someone when this happens is as much a reflection of ourselves as of them.  Everyone fails at some point.  What we need to do is create the opportunity for learning and personal growth when this happens.   It is always wise to ask yourself how you would like to be treated in a comparable situation.  Moreover, when performance isn’t at issue or the interaction is only in passing, why not inject some positive energy, friendliness, and kindness into the equation?