Principles above All Else

Principles above All Else

I like the quote, “Human beings come and go, but principles go on and on.” Over the years, you will work with a lot of different people. It doesn’t matter if you are with the same organization for 30+ years (yes, there are still people that do that) or have worked for ten different organizations in the last five years—you meet and work with lots of different people.

Some are your superiors, others report to you, and still others work alongside you. Some drive you crazy, some motivate you, some you are social with, and others you avoid. How can you manage all these different types? Some of us don’t do this so well. Others do a great job. For me, the key understanding is knowing that it takes all types to make a team. I have a set of principles that I try to live by. I use it across the board. As long as I stick to my principles, I am good. Nothing should bother me.

I had to refresh this for myself recently as my daughter (13 years old) went on about a classmate. A couple of her best friends are leaving her school and she will miss them. She commented, “Why can’t Sally (not her real name) move away instead? She drives me crazy! She talks when we are supposed to be doing homework and studying, and she hates sports. Her parents make her play on the teams and all she does is complain.” She went on and on.

I sat her down and explained (once again) that everyone is different and everyone has a role. We looked for Sally’s strengths and focused on them. It didn’t solve the problem completely, but I think my daughter now has a better grasp (not perfect and will need reminding over time) on how to manage such people. Set your principles and live by them rather than adapt to the way those around you react. She’s not perfect, but she is making progress.

The same goes at work. In my role with clients and within client organizations, we all need to understand that everyone on the team has a role and we should embrace that. Try not to let it discourage us, stick to our principles, and we will be fine. I will share the four principles that I have shared before. It is the Rotary Four Way Test.

In all we say and do,

  1. Is it the TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

If I can answer yes to these four principles every time, I know I am going down the right path!

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