The Inverted Golden Rule


Leaders, who think they’re “special,” treat themselves better than others. They invert the Golden Rule and stand aloof. After all, the rules don’t apply to “Golden Leaders.”

Power and authority distort perspective.

Special leaders:

  1. Expect others to collaborate while they dictate.
  2. Arrive unprepared for meetings.
  3. Expect others to listen while they don’t.
  4. Make promises but don’t follow through.
  5. Bend the rules for themselves but not for others.

Excuses abound for this foolishness. You were up half the night worrying about a deadline that no one else is worrying about. You worked late so you deserve to sleep in.

  1. You’re too busy to listen.
  2. You’re more committed than others.
  3. Your workload is so heavy you can’t prepare for meetings.


Exceptions for you disrespect them.

Connecting with people requires respect. Keeping people in their place, while you enjoy special exemptions, blocks connection.

 Disrespect disconnects.

What you expect from the team?

  1. Do you expect them to put their big girl dresses on and come to work on time after working late the night before?
  2. Do you expect them to put in for vacation-time when they leave early for Johnny’s baseball game?
  3. Is everyone expected at the company picnic, but you don’t make it? You expect them to socialize with each other but that expectation doesn’t apply to you.

Treat yourself like you treat others.

The rules that apply to others apply to you.

Simple rule:

The next time you’re giving yourself special exemptions ask yourself if the members of your team have the same privilege. If they don’t, then you’ve inverted the Golden Rule and become the Golden Leader.

“What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”


This post stings me. I have an inclination to think more highly of myself than others.

When are leaders exempt from the rules that apply to everyone else?