Growing up, we all heard the “Golden rule” — “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” We’ve been taught that this phrase is the greatest lesson to learn in our lifetime.
However, this is no longer sufficient, especially in the workplace. It is inarguably a fact that we can’t treat people the way we want to be treated.
The golden rule has limitations, and it is not universal as we think it is. The ‘Platinum rule’ turns out to be much more effective, which serves as a guide in having good interaction, especially at work.
The platinum rule takes into account that we are all different, and not every relationship should be approached in the same way as the others.
In this article, we’ll discuss the platinum rule, its importance, its difference from the golden rule, and some of the ways to implement it in the workplace.
What is the platinum rule?
Simply put, the platinum rule specifies that we should treat people the way “they” want to be treated.
It is a common misconception that we should treat people the same because we think it’s fair. The truth is, every individual and every situation is different.
Leaders in every organization need to accept and understand that employees are different when it comes to their motivations, goals, values, learning style, and preferences.
Thus, adhering to the platinum rule is equivalent to practicing kindness, respect, compassion, and consideration for colleagues.
The platinum rule vs the golden rule
The golden rule is a concept that has existed for a few decades. This rule always professed the line “treat others the way you’d like to be treated.”
This rule is often practiced in religious and cultural settings. However, the golden rule is not universal. It is based on the assumption that every individual is the same.
On the other hand, the platinum rule is more realistic and effective and has been proven to promote better working environments.
Six ways to implement the platinum rule at work:
In order to implement the platinum rule in the workplace, several things need to be practiced. Let’s take a look at the six ways to successfully implement the platinum rule at work:
Communicate how you want to be treated
We all know that communication is the heart of building and maintaining good workplace relationships. This is an important step in fostering a pleasant working environment.
As a leader, it is important to promote a place where everyone feels empowered and comfortable to speak up about themselves.
Listen and create space for feedback
The second important practice in implementing the platinum rule is to listen and create space for feedback. Listening and exchanging feedback are perfect for developing good communication with co-workers.
We need to remember that everyone at work has different personalities. Someone’s statement that is intended as a joke might be insulting and offensive to some people.
Thus, the platinum rule suggests setting aside guilt and embarrassment. Decide how you’ll react, and always be open to feedback.
Instead of assuming that everyone is the same and wants the same, start considering that everyone is unique.
In a diverse workplace, it is important to help others achieve the things that are important to them regardless of our preferences.
Adhering to the platinum rule means understanding someone regardless of their – culture, motivations, life experiences, values, learning and communication styles, and perspective.
Maintain healthy boundaries
Setting and maintaining healthy boundaries at work is also a key to having a healthy working relationship.
Workplace boundaries are important since these will significantly help individuals to not cross lines with one another. Thus, maintaining boundaries prevents acts of disrespect and create a healthy working environment.
Ask questions frequently
There are no limitations in learning more, and there is always room for improvement for everyone. The platinum rule suggests that we should ask probing questions to connect with others, especially in workplace settings.
To use and show empathy effectively in the workplace, one must have full attention to colleagues. Pay attention to not only the words they’re saying but also be aware of their feelings.
One may opt to create conversations with colleagues. Share personal experiences and life outside of the workplace.
This is one of the best ways to improve the platinum rule at work and a great way to establish genuine and empathetic connections on a deeper level.
Why the platinum rule matters in the workplace
All that said, the platinum rule promotes building stronger relationships and maintaining a respectful workplace.
This rule takes into account individual preferences, needs, and boundaries that leaders can use to establish a stronger team in a healthy workplace environment.
Implementing the platinum rule is key to understanding everyone’s personality and adding sensitivity at work. It can aid us in successfully conducting ourselves in a diverse and ever-evolving workplace environment.
 Golden rule. Smith, J.G. (2007). Spirituality in the salesperson: the impact of the golden rule and personal faith on workplace job attitudes. [online] oaktrust.library.tamu.edu. Available at: https://oaktrust.library.tamu.edu/handle/1969.1/5815 [Accessed 21 Sep. 2022].
 Platinum rule. Stephan, W. (2021). The Platinum Rule Meets the Golden Minimum: Inclusive and Efficient Archival Description of Oral Histories. Journal of Contemporary Archival Studies, [online] 8(1). Available at: https://elischolar.library.yale.edu/jcas/vol8/iss1/11/ [Accessed 21 Sep. 2022].