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What Is The Platinum Rule And Why Is It More Necessary Now Than Ever?

What Is The Platinum Rule And Why Is It More Necessary Now Than Ever
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Summary: Effective communication is the key to success, as it fosters a harmonious workplace environment and thriving relationships between coworkers. How can the platinum rule help leaders achieve this?

What Leaders Need To Know About The Platinum Rule's Benefits

Most people grew up being told that they should treat others the way they want to be treated. While this sentiment isn't wrong, the platinum rule says that we should treat people the way they want to be treated. This means that based on people's unique backgrounds, people should tailor their behavior toward each individual. By leading with empathy, colleagues become more understanding of one's experiences and, therefore, create a more inclusive and supportive workplace. As a result, professional and personal relationships strengthen, collaboration increases, and everyone's productivity improves. Also, when employees and leaders take the time to understand each other's communication needs, misunderstandings are less likely to happen and people feel more included.

Golden Rule Versus Platinum Rule: The Differences

The main difference between the two is the fact that the golden rule is self-centric, while the platinum rule is other-centric. According to the former, people act based on how they would want to be treated, whereas in the latter, people are encouraged to act based on other people's needs. The platinum rule recognizes that not everyone wants or should be treated the same way. Based on people's unique characteristics and backgrounds, our behavior toward them should be modified. This requires people to know themselves and know how they want to be treated. Additionally, the golden rule is often seen as being dogmatic and ignoring individual needs, while the platinum rule teaches a more empathetic stance. Lastly, the titanium rule is another way of maneuvering around people and their needs. Its teachings help people realize what they want and what those around them want. This rule also offers ways to recognize one's comfort zone and better understand their communication styles.

How Can A Leader Apply This Rule In The Workplace?

Listen And Accept Feedback

A leader should know themselves and their employees, meaning that they should practice active listening and ask questions. Every time they have a team meeting and inform people about a new goal or strategy, they must pay close attention to each person's reaction. Maybe something they said or a certain word annoyed someone, made them feel uncomfortable, or displeased them. Maybe they made a joke that was not perceived positively by all team members, and some of them were left visibly upset. A good leader should notice these reactions and communicate with employees to resolve any issues. It doesn't matter whether they meant well or not. If someone is offended, leaders must listen and try to improve. Thus, they should be open to receiving feedback and accept any wrongdoing. This way, employees' feelings and thoughts will be validated and respected.

Identify Different Communication Styles

When a leader has fostered good communication with employees, they are aware of the different communication methods each employee feels comfortable with. For example, some might prefer phone calls instead of text messages and emails, while others may prefer face-to-face meetings rather than video calls. While it's important that leaders also feel comfortable with communication styles, they also must be flexible. Additionally, leaders can draw boundaries between themselves and employees. For instance, a leader may wish to provide employees with feedback daily. However, such a practice might make certain people feel smothered and overwhelmed. They must adapt their feedback-giving methods to make employees feel more comfortable and welcoming of them.

Focus On A Team's Strengths

During the hiring process, leaders tend to ask employees about their strengths and weaknesses. After collaborating with them and overseeing their work, they notice these aspects more clearly. It's very easy to concentrate on someone's areas for improvement. And while this is important, it is also necessary to focus on their strengths and successes as well. This way, employees get a sense of satisfaction and begin to utilize their talents more efficiently in their daily tasks. The platinum rule encourages positive feedback, even when it includes weak spots. A leader must notice an employee's gaps and help them devise methods to improve. Or maybe they can shift their responsibilities and offer them a new position in the company that better suits their strengths.

Develop An Effective Mindset

Leaders often develop their leadership style based on how they would prefer to be led. This is exactly the opposite of how the platinum rule encourages leaders to manage their employees. Leadership figures must listen to their employees' preferences and manage each one of them based on their unique needs. That is because individuals differ and may require dissimilar handling to be productive. So, leaders need to focus on each employee separately and work with them to solve any issues. They must also concentrate on their strengths and find additional ways to implement them in their daily tasks. As a result, everyone's efficiency and consistency increase, and leaders develop deeper and more meaningful interpersonal relationships.

Practice Empathy

Some people are not programmed to be as empathetic as others, but that doesn't mean they can't learn to be empathetic. A study found that 76% of employees who experienced empathy from their leaders reported high engagement compared to the 32% who lacked empathy. A few easy questions can help leaders grow empathy. For example, they can ask themselves, "How did I contribute to this person's feelings?" or, "What could I have said to make them feel better?" Additionally, leading figures can have meaningful conversations with staff members regarding not only their professional goals but also their personal experiences. Understanding what someone has gone through in life and how that connects to their career will help them navigate their work more efficiently. They also get a better understanding of how each person likes to be managed and directed in the workplace without feeling stifled or abandoned.


The platinum rule takes into account individual needs, preferences, and boundaries and, therefore, promotes empathy and respect in the workplace. Leaders must show extra sensitivity and interest in knowing employees if they want to foster better communication and equity. Building strong relationships isn't a one-size-fits-all formula, and different people require alternate treatment. Instead of assuming how someone would like to be treated, simply ask them and try to understand and respect where they're coming from.