Display

Will it be gold or platinum?

Lt. Col. Pat McAtee shakes the hand of 192nd Fighter Wing Commander Col. Mark A. McCauley upon his return from deployment to Kadena Air Base, Japan (Staff Sgt. Meaghan McNeil).

Lt. Col. Pat McAtee shakes the hand of 192nd Fighter Wing Commander Col. Mark A. McCauley upon his return from deployment to Kadena Air Base, Japan. Treating people with dignity can improve communication and working relationships, according to Pamela Dowell, director of the 55th Wing Equal Opportunity Office. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Meaghan McNeil

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. -- Remember when you were 10 and you got into arguments with your friends or siblings? Loud arguments, occasionally accompanied by pushing or shoving just for good measure. Your mother would look at you with those disappointed eyes and say, "Remember the golden rule. Treat people the way you want to be treated."

How do I know your mom so well? Because she was my mom too.

I remember knock-down, drag-out "arguments" with my sister. Mom would pull me off of my antagonist to teach me the golden rule - repeatedly. I finally took note and lived by that rule for several years because it made great sense.

If I treated people the way I wanted to be treated I wouldn't have miscommunication or misunderstandings with co-workers, family or friends. Shockingly, not everyone I knew wanted to be treated the way I did. However, I kept the golden rule ready for action when all other avenues of communication failed.

While researching for a paper on teamwork, I came across the platinum rule. The platinum rule is basically treating people the way they want to be treated. I was stunned, could mom, in fact, be wrong? My mind almost couldn't acknowledge the possibility; however, I decided to put the platinum rule to the test.

I began to truly watch the people I came in contact with each day - my children, co-workers and friends. I learned multiple ways to treat people with appreciation and worth. I learned some co-workers communicated best in the mornings, others preferred afternoons. I learned my friends liked to communicate differently as well - Lanie interacted better when I lowered my tone and inflection, whereas, Lisa enjoyed a good, robust debate. I also learned my teenage children just couldn't be reasoned with, no matter what style of communication I tried.

So the next time you find yourself in a dispute, take a moment and ask yourself - gold or platinum? As the name implies, I believe you will receive a better return of respect on your investment in people if you treat them the way they wish to be treated.

If you would like to learn more about positive communication skills and teambuilding, call the 55th Wing Equal Opportunity Office at 294-6882.