The Platinum Rule: Treating Employees How they Want to be Treated


We’ve all heard of the Golden Rule — do unto others as you would have them do to you. Since we were children, we’ve been taught that this is the absolute best way to ensure that your actions are considerate and helpful within your relationships.

However, the Golden Rule has its limitations. It may not be as universal as we might have grown up thinking it is. It may not actually be the best guide when it comes to navigating our relationships.

That’s where the Platinum Rule comes in. The Platinum Rule takes into account the fact that not all relationships should be approached in the same way. It’s particularly important when it comes to how you treat your employees. When it comes to running a successful business, it’s clear — the Platinum Rule is the best way to make sure that you’re treating your employees as best you can.

Every Relationship Is Different

The Platinum Rule goes a little different than the Golden Rule — do unto others as they would want to be done to them. The obvious difference here is that it’s a lot less about what you need out of a relationship, and a lot more about what the other person needs. The Golden Rule, in essence, only truly applies when two people need the exact same things from each other.

In romantic relationships, this could mean a difference in love languages. Maybe one person needs verbal affirmation while the other needs acts of service or more quality time. In this situation, you would follow the Platinum Rule, because you’d have different needs that should be respected.

When it comes to employee-supervisor relationships, there’s a much bigger difference. If you follow the Golden Rule, you’d treat your employees as you’d want to be treated, essentially treating them as you’d treat a fellow higher-up. You fill different roles within a business, so you obviously need different things.

Employees need things from you like guidance, feedback, and structure. The Platinum Rule allows you to understand those needs and respond appropriately. If you follow the Platinum Rule over the Golden Rule, you can be a better boss or supervisor just by giving them what they need.

Different Personalities, Different Needs

Okay, so the Golden Rule is out and the Platinum Rule is in. You may be thinking that your work here is done. Maybe you think that you’re totally equipped to improve your boss-employee relationships. However, the Platinum Rule doesn’t stop there.

Yes, you should treat your employees in ways that reflect what they need in general. You can take this a step further, though. It’s absolutely possible to make your approach more tailored to the needs and experiences of others.

Some people respond well to tough love, while others become defensive, angry, or hurt. Some people like quite a bit of positive reinforcement, while others feel coddled or like you’re being overbearing. If you can take into account the work styles of your employees, you can use the Platinum Rule to bring out the best in them.

ProofHub gives your team members with different working styles a central place to plan, collaborate, and get things done. Try it now!

Creating And Maintaining Healthy Boundaries

It’s clear that using the Platinum Rule when you interact with your employees will only improve the quality of your and their experience. In addition to knowing how they want to be treated, you can also determine and maintain boundaries with them.

When you use the Golden Rule to govern how you treat your employees, you may be sharing information that doesn’t serve you or your people. If you treat them how you’d like to be treated, you may be imposing your work style on them.

Maybe you appreciate constant feedback, but giving your employees constant feedback makes them feel smothered. Maybe you like to know what’s going on with your business, but sharing that information with your employees may feel like too much responsibility for them. They may even feel helpless since you have the ability to make positive changes to your business that they don’t.

It’s also totally possible that you can personally tolerate a workload that your employees can’t, and will feel completely overwhelmed by. What feels like a stimulating, healthy challenge to you may feel like burnout to your employees.

The Platinum Rule, in addition to respecting what people want, can help you respect what people don’t want. It can help you decide what boundaries to draw with your employees so that everyone involved feels comfortable and happy.

Giving Everyone The Respect They Deserve

The most important part of the Platinum Rule is recognizing that people are different from you. It acknowledges that respecting these differences improves the quality of your relationships.

Realizing these differences and implementing them in your management style can create a work culture of respect and tolerance. Ignoring them and treating everyone exactly like you’d want to be treated can reinforce a culture of disinterest. You want your people to feel seen and respected by you, and that’s best demonstrated in how you treat them.

Regardless of improving your bottom line by bringing out the best in your employees, giving them the respect they deserve by treating them the way they’d like to be treated shows them that you care. This can enhance your workplace culture immediately and make going into work a more pleasant, rewarding experience for everyone.

Better Than The Golden Rule

The obvious takeaway here is that the Golden Rule really can’t account for the individual needs, preferences, and boundaries of your employees. It’s a one-sided system that only reflects what you value in a workplace relationship.

When you use the Platinum Rule, you allow the diversity and variety of your employee’s personalities to enrich your relationships. You make your business relationships more genuine and productive, you make your employees feel more satisfied at work, and you respect everyone around you.

The Platinum Rule allows you to step up your game when you interact with your employees, something the Golden Rule simply isn’t able to do.

About Author

Gabe Nelson is a content specialist of over 7 years of experience, currently working with bonus.ly. Just out of high school he set off crab fishing on the Bering sea in Alaska. From there he went back home to finish his college degree at the University of Montana. He has a passion and keen understanding when it comes to HR and employee management. He has written hundreds of content pieces in numerous niches.

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Also Read:

  1. Learning to Avoid the Chaos: 5 Things That Can Go Wrong in the Flexible Workspace
  2. The Untapped Powers of a Motivated Team (and how to unleash them)
  3. How to Keep Up Stellar Project Management Work When in Stress
  4. Cringeworthy Things Great Leaders Do NOT Do!


The Platinum Rule: Treating Employees How they Want to be Treated was originally published in ProofHub Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

The Platinum Rule: Treating Employees How they Want to be Treated

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