Treat People Well

I do not like to create artificial distinctions between business and other human activities and endeavors. There are distinctions, but we should not create ones where they do not exist.

The goal of business is to provide value to customers, via products and or services, and in turn receive value from them in the form of money. Essentially, business is, or at least should be, about the fair exchange of value for value. The goal of finding a soulmate, raising a family, participating in charity, exercising, as well as a myriad of other activities, is different than that of business.

However, while business has a distinct end goal compared to other endeavors, it is subject to the same fundamental principles that govern the rest of human behavior. For example, if you treat people poorly in your personal life you end up alienating them. Similarly, if you treat people poorly in business you do the same.

Conversely, if you treat people well in your personal life, you tend to make friends and be well regarded in general. If you treat people well in business, the same ends up being true.

Some businesspeople feel that being kind and courteous falls outside the purview of what business is about. I have heard owners of companies say things like, “I do not have to be nice to my employees; I pay them.” This is a defective attitude. What it breeds is discontent and disloyalty.

Ultimately, no matter what you pay a person, if you treat them poorly in your interactions with them, they are going to give less than their best efforts working for you. They may pay lip service to your goals, but that is all it will be. Many employees show up to work because they need the money, not because they love what they do. And if their boss is ill tempered and condescending, eventually they leave.

Sure, there are cases where a person works for a miserable boss, but they stay in their job because the money is too good to walk away from. Yet as soon as they have another opportunity that meets their economic needs, they are gone.

In and outside of the workplace, treating people well is a sound prescription for success.

Image: David Castillo Dominici /

*Authors note: You might see this column pop up online in a newspaper, under the name Both Sides. I am publishing this column here first at For a bunch of years, I have been writing newspaper columns. Since my columns have received a good response on CYInterview, I thought I would share it with you. Hope you enjoy.

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