It’s the Golden Rule isn’t it? Treat others as you would like to be treated yourself. It’s not difficult or complicated. It really is quite simple.
This morning on my commute to work a heavily pregnant lady got on the full train and walked past at least 30 people who avoided eye contact and looked the other way. It wasn’t one of those situations of is she isn’t she pregnant, not only was it clear physically but she was sporting one of the London Transport Baby on Board badges. Yes I was comfortable, and yes I had a good seat and some reading to do, but the golden rule is that you offer you seat. So I did. She gratefully accepted, sat down with a sigh and I had a short journey to stand for.
Next stop a seat came free, another person was standing but she had seen me stand previously and offered me the seat that came free. Yeay – people are good and I took it.
But then it happened again, I had just sat down and another clearly pregnant lady got on, again sporting the badge, and again made her way down the carriage. Again I was the only one to offer a seat. She asked me if I was sure – (is this a peculiarly british thing?) – but gratefully accepted. When I was stood I counted, she walked past 15 people before she got to me, 11 of them facing her. Again the avoided eye contact, the head down, the don’t look at me.
Research undertaken by Kerstin Sailer, a lecturer from UCL, indicates that women are offered seats about 50% of the time (read more here):
This isn’t a post about me, or that I’m getting over ‘all magnanimous’ (thanks @sukhpabial) but rather my disappointment in people not following the Golden Rule, the absence of good manners.
So what about at work? I had the opportunity to read a presentation that talked about Eurostar’s behaviours, how they want their staff to behave, they are simple, clear and most of all common sense and follow the Golden Rule:
Warm – We are approachable and human
Intuitive – We are proactive and understand the needs of our customers and colleagues
Genuine – We’re open-minded, honest and express our own personalities
Looked After – We treat everyone as we would want to be treated
It’s not quite as straightforward as that for me, yes its a great place to start and should be the basis of relationships both at work and in life but I think we need to go a little further. For me we need to consider how the other person wants to be treated and adapt accordingly.
But the Golden Rule is a good place to start or as Franklin D Roosevelt said ‘If you treat people right they will treat you right… ninety percent of the time’ – I like those odds.