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Business Information by Gladys Edmunds

Business Information by Gladys Edmunds
At age 15 Gladys developed a travel service that would prosper for more than 30 years. She is a national award winning entrepreneur, keynote speaker, author and columnist. Visit her at

Don't Give Up on the Golden Rule at Work

Don't Give Up on the Golden Rule at Work

Dear Gladys

Up until about 5 years ago I was naïve enough to believe that whether an employee or employer, you needed to treat your coworkers with respect and dignity. The golden rule, if you will. It was how I was raised. But I have since changed my attitude.

In my profession I have witnessed ruthless acts of people getting fired for reasons completely unrelated to their job performance. It seems to be each man or woman for himself or herself. There is no workplace trust. To survive in the workplace, it takes cunning, strategizing, skill at deflecting blame, skill at initiating blame, skill at taking credit whether or not deserved and other ancillary skills. To lose at this game means no health benefits, possible loss of your home, or worse. No one looks out for others or has an interest in doing the right thing. If you haven't already, I suggest you read a book entitled Power. The author is Jeffery Pfeffer who is a highly respected business professor. You will see that even his book acknowledges that my new attitude is correct.

Thanks — CA

I have read Jeffery Pfeffer's book Power: Why Some People Have it and Others Don't. However, I seem to have gotten a slightly different message than the one you have.

Pfeffer's book is about how you can gain both influence and personal power within an organization. In a nutshell he spells out how to take care of yourself. My take on his message says, to gain power one needs to continually build one's personal qualities, including energy, persistence, ability to put one's self in the other's place and the willingness to engage in conflict when necessary that provides you influence. In order to do this effectively you will need a good coach and a well-developed plan.

People lose power because they get weary of constantly being on their toes and also taking the flattery that comes with power too seriously. Many also believe their own press and thinking that the rules don't apply to them. Mr. Pfeffer acknowledges business owners and corporate executives have a boss or set of bosses that we must please in order to succeed.

He adds to move up the ladder requires helping your boss look good and be successful, and making those on whom you depend feel good about themselves, and therefore about you.

He also says you have to stand up for yourself and advocate on your own behalf You need to invest the required energy to advance your career, and not sit back and rely on the generosity of others.

I also understood him to say, we are all on stage. Therefore, you are constantly being observed by others and must be aware of how you are coming across and how you want others to see you. Once you decide how you want to be viewed, then it’s time to act accordingly.

I agree with Mr. Pfeffer's work. In fact, what he writes is not new at all. Folks like Napoleon Hill in Think and Grow Rich and Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People, stated the same things more than 75 years ago.

In many cases both employees and employers have something to learn about how the world functions.

Don't give up hope on the golden rule. It is still alive and well. What Pfeffer, Carnegie, and Hill wrote are books to help us survive and advance in this world as we help others come to grips with the golden rule.

Consider revisiting Pfeffer's book. The message I took from his book is he is not telling the world to become non-caring, ruthless tyrants. He is saying rather than wait for bosses to become better we must learn how to take care of ourselves and prosper in this world. I didn't get the message he was suggesting dignity and respect for each other should be abandoned.

Honor your upbringing. I don't care what anyone says, doing the right thing is honorable and I will never advocate anything less.

Read other business articles by Gladys Edmunds

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