In a world of cut-throat competition and obsession with status, it’s easy /to default to a transactional mindset with people – being kind only to those useful in getting us ahead while ignoring or demeaning “lower level” people we interact with everyday.
Yet the most transcendent leaders understand a basic truth – how you treat people speaks volumes about your character. And everyone deserves respect regardless of perceived status.
Duolingo, the popular language learning app company, famously gets executive candidates picked up from the airport by a driver. The driver then provides feedback on how respectfully the candidate behaved, which factors into final hiring decisions. Duolingo expects decency towards all.
Or consider the following personal story…
A loyal driver of mine once left his job with me to go serve a high-level executive paying double his previous salary. After a 2 years, he returns back to work with me. Why return to his old boss? His response to me was 7 years ago, but it hasn’t left me, “because working for you makes me feel like much more than just a driver,” he replied. That simple dignity and warmth he found absent in his new boss though he was paid twice as much.
The truth is our networks determine our net worth, but not by wealth or prominence. The diversity of perspectives within our web of genuine connections lifts us higher. And that web frays fast when we degrade others as mere means to self-serving ends.
Seek not how those around you may be useful, but how to elevate them. Recognize the inherent worth and potential within all people you encounter. Uplift others through small acts of everyday humanity – a kind word, smile, or gesture of service makes an impact.
For when we view even brief interactions as opportunities to affirm dignity, demonstrate compassion, and sow seeds of inspiration, ripples carry forward long after we part ways.
The choice is yours. Will you perpetuate cold transactional mindsets valuing people only for self-gain? Or warm all hearts you touch, allowing everyone to feel welcomed, appreciated, and respected?
Your lasting legacy hangs in the balance.