“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.” – Matthew 7:12
In the latter years of my corporate career I once found myself in an intense debate – a knock-down-drag-out argument actually – with my boss about a certain colleague who though extremely skilled at what he did, had severe interpersonal deficiencies. I argued that in the long run his inability to interact favorably with other people would one day be to his detriment. But my boss strongly defended the guy, arguing that as long as he produced such profitable results it would outweigh his inability to get along with people. Neither of us ever won the debate, though, for soon after we had engaged in that heated conversation the man left our firm and took a position elsewhere.
Given my passionate position in that particular debate it should come as no surprise that in my current profession of executive coaching one hundred percent of the work I do with executive clients centers around human interaction; for I have observed, and firmly believe, that no matter what position a person holds, how powerful, skilled, intelligent, innovative, or gifted, the ability to relate to others is pivotal in his or her personal and professional effectiveness.
While there are certain skills one can learn about human interactions (hundreds of books have been written on the subject), ultimately it is an art, artists being those who present thoughts, ideas, or interpretations through a particular medium (painting, sculpting, music, poetry, playwriting come to mind), but are equally focused on how the audience might receive or perceive their works. It is an equation in other words. That’s why those who are masters at human interaction are artists, by creatively conveying their thoughts in such a way that considers how others will receive or perceive them.
In a nutshell, masterful, effective human interaction is a Golden Rule activity, a simple equation – treat others equal to the way you want to be treated. That was the beef I had with my former colleague, his failure to recognize human interaction as an equation. Imagine how successful he would have been if he had. “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you,” Jesus said, “for this sums up the Law and the Prophets,” as it also sums up effective human interaction, and the formula for living an abundant life.