Applying the golden rule

Can you imagine in the workplace if coworkers treated other coworkers in a manner they themselves would want to be treated? Imagine what that would do to workplace collegiality? (MC)

Paul Butler

Signal Contributing Writer

Like many of my fellow Santa Claritians, I am still musing over the dreadful events that occurred at a local high school recently, where a lone gunman shot and killed two of his fellow students as well as injuring two others before taking his own life.

The phrase “humankind” does seem to be an oxymoron — as the heart of the issue does seem to be the human heart. In last week’s article I highlighted the fact that the second highest cause of death for today’s employee is homicide — the first being transportation accidents related to the workplace.

I was listening to a song by the band Mercy Me this weekend called “Crazy Enough” and one of the lyrics asks the profound question: “Call me crazy but what if we learned to love each other, treating them as you first would treat yourself.”

The simplicity of this lyric hit me between the eyes — can you imagine a world where each of us actually did apply the Golden Rule? There’d be no school shootings; no lying; no theft; no adultery; no divorce; no rape and no murder. Now, that would make “Awesometown” awesome!

Can you imagine in the workplace if coworkers treated other coworkers in a manner they themselves would want to be treated? Imagine what that would do to workplace collegiality? Imagine when in conflict at work we sought the needs of another and not just our own interests? What would it be like if a department truly did work as a team and had a vision bigger than self-interest? Now, that would truly make it a great place to work.

Imagine how an organization would function if employees at all levels treated the financial resources of their employer as if it was their own money? Imagine what that would do to assets, expenses, income, liabilities and shareholders’ equity?

If more senior leaders treated their direct reports in a way they themselves would like to be treated, they’d literally be turning the organizational pyramid upside-down. How wonderful would it be if those in the greatest positions saw themselves as being of service to the lower levels rather than being so self-serving?

Talking of serving — what about customer service? Wouldn’t you agree with me, at the heart of poor customer service is when you as the consumer felt you weren’t treated how you believe you should have been treated?

Why can’t we apply the Golden Rule? What is it within our DNA that causes all these problems between human beings? It seems we really are just fallible, imperfect individuals. We’re not all as bad as we could be and we’re obviously not all as good as we should be.

To lift our spirits, my wife and I decided to go and watch the feel-good movie: “A beautiful day in the Neighborhood” about the life of Fred Rogers. Surely, he was a perfect human being?

It seems he wasn’t, as what I found very haunting about the movie was the closing scene where Mr. Rogers banged all the keys on the piano (which was one of his ways of dealing with the anger and frustration he felt inside). So even Mr. Rogers, it seemed, had a heart condition.

My hope is that as leaders, team supervisors, coworkers and consumers we rhetorically just “bang all the keys on the piano” in solace now and again to vent our frustration rather than shoot, stab, cut, slash, pierce, hit, kick, beat and shove people — which according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report, some of us are guilty of.

My hope for this Thanksgiving is that we would see more of the kindness put back into human kindness. Yes, that would indeed make a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

Paul Butler is a Santa Clarita resident and a client partner with Newleaf Training and Development of Valencia ( The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Signal newspaper. For questions or comments, email Butler at [email protected]

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