#030 - Everybody is Somebody, and Nobody is Nobody. Everyone is unique. Everyone is special. Everyone deserves to receive your best efforts to make them feel valued and happy because of you. Join Dr. Charles Boyer for an episode about treating Everybody as Somebody. It's what leaders serving others is all about.
Hello and welcome to Keys For New Leaders, a podcast Serving Leaders Serving Others. This is your host, Dr. Charles Boyer, but my friends call me Charlie, and that’s most certainly YOU, my friend. If you are a new or newer leader, or are joining this podcast for the first time, a special welcome to you. And, if you are a returning listener, a very warm welcome back! I’m so glad you’re here for this episode. If you haven’t already done so, please take a minute to click on the subscribe button on your audio platform, and you’ll receive notices of future episodes as soon as they are published.
Serving Leaders Serving Others is what we’re all about. In this series of podcasts, my goal is to serve you, the leader, helping you serve others through sharing ideas, helpful hints, suggestions, inspiration, insights, encouragement and sometimes a laugh or two to lighten the load along the way.
This episode is one of those landmark episodes – it’s #30, a landmark I never dreamed we’d get to when I started this series of podcasts. My thanks to you, podcast listeners in more than 700 cities around the world. This episode is called “Everybody is Somebody.” And the opposite of that is Nobody is Nobody. Think of that. Everyone is unique. Everyone is special. Everyone deserves to receive your best efforts to make them feel valued and happy because of you. Treating Everybody as Somebody is what leaders who serve others is all about.
That seems so clear and simple to me, yet what I hear and read in many different programs, podcasts and articles suggests that treating everybody as somebody is a concept that hasn’t resonated with a lot of people in leadership positions. What a shame!
Stories are plentiful about bosses who belittle their people and wonder why people don’t think much of their leadership, or them as a person, come to think of it. It does matter how you treat others, because it’s a direct reflection of who you really are in the world.
Maybe you recognize some of these people who call themselves leaders:
· There’s the one who is quick to point out others’ mistakes and who delights in making others feel small, thinking that makes him or her feel bigger. I call that the “Gotcha!” boss, waiting to pounce on any mistake, either real or perceived.
· Then there’s the one who takes the credit when something goes well, and passes out the blame when something goes wrong. That’s a grandstander at work. Look at what I did, I’m great – and the blamer – Why didn’t you do something about that?
· And there’s the one who says one thing and does another, then wonders why people don’t trust them. Think of the boss who wants everyone in the office and to be available at all times, while the boss prefers to work remotely from home or wherever.
· Maybe you know someone who won’t associate with anyone who isn’t considered important. I remember a line by the character Lena Lamont in the wonderful old musical, Singin’ in the Rain, when she said, “Who are you? Are you anybody?” She was so self-centered that she wouldn’t have anything to do with anybody unless she thought they were somebody.
· Then there’s the chaotic result of what happens when no one takes responsibility and nothing gets accomplished. There’s an old story floating around on the Internet. The same story is credited to at least three different writers, so I’m not sure who really wrote it. Maybe it was Somebody. Maybe it was Everybody.
· Here’s the story: This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have.
It should be painfully obvious to all that these aren’t good examples of leaders who serve others. Leaders who serve others must treat everyone as if they matter -- because they DO! The words are so easy to say, yet they seem to be lots more difficult to put into practice. The Golden Rule that we all learned as children needs to be practiced more: Treat others the way you want to be treated.
British entrepreneur Richard Branson wrote: “There’s no magic formula for great company culture. The key is just to treat your staff how you would like to be treated.”
That doesn’t mean that you need to relax your standards of excellence. You always need to hold yourself and others accountable, and take appropriate action when the situation calls for it. But in the process, people should always be treated with dignity and respect. The character Eliza Doolittle in the musical, My Fair Lady, said “…the difference between a lady and a flower girl is not how she behaves, but how she is treated…” Imagine what you could accomplish as a leader if you treated everyone as a lady or gentleman. Treat Everybody as Somebody, and treat Nobody as Nobody.
Now, Nobody is telling you the journey will be easy. There are all kinds of words of advice, clever sayings, and little reminders that are just about everywhere these days. But – and it’s a big but – you must stop, look, listen, learn, and practice if you want to make any behavior a part of you, not just a surface gesture. If you want your trademark to be how well you treat others, you must treat others with the same kind of dignity and respect that you expect from others. It’s most definitely a two-way street, my friend. If you don’t think that everyone is worthy of your best treatment, you’re wasting your time here.
It can be as simple as applying the Golden Rule: treat others the way you want to be treated. But there’s more to it than that. There is also the Platinum Rule: treat others the way they want to be treated. Now we’re getting somewhere. There’s a bit of gentle arrogance in the statement “treat others as YOU want to be treated” – as if what YOU want is most important. Think of what is most important to the other person – how does he/she want to be treated? It adds another dimension to the process, doesn’t it? And you’re taking a big step closer to giving people the dignity and respect they deserve.
Well now, just how do we get there from here? There are all sorts of lists you can get from books, articles, even some rap songs. The problem is, my friend, that reading through lists and checking off what we’ve read won’t get us off our blessed assurance and actually do something to change the way we treat others. We absolutely have to make a commitment to practice that Golden or Platinum Rule in all our dealings with others, every hour of every day! Anything less is just lip service.
There are no short cuts – sorry! I’ve culled through a lot of lists, books and articles, and thought a lot about my own experiences with treating others and being treated by others. I could create yet another list for you to highlight and probably forget. Instead, let me give us a few points to ponder as you continue on your journey of leading by serving others.
First – believe that Everybody is Somebody. And treat Everybody as if they are Somebody. They ARE! Believe that Everyone is worthy of your best efforts to award them your respect. They ARE! Nobody is to be treated as a Nobody. Nobody. No Way. No How. And if you believe that, show it with your attention, with your words, and more importantly with your actions. That takes commitment and constant practice. And patience. And perseverance. And – what else would YOU add, my friend? If you say you believe that Everybody is Somebody, how do you show it? How does Everybody is Somebody show up in your life?
Next – it’s not second in importance, it’s just the next point for us to ponder: LISTEN. Listen to what that Somebody has to say to you. Listening is one of the best ways you can demonstrate to another person that you truly value them as Somebody. Listen intently and honor them with your undivided attention. The need for a leader to listen well is stated over and over again. Maybe that need is repeated so often because people really don’t listen well to others. Check out Episode # 4 of this podcast. It’s all about Listening. We tend to listen through our own filters, or start thinking we know the other person’s thoughts, or our minds start wandering. A good leader must be a good listener. It takes commitment and lots of practice to become a good listener. How well – really – do YOU listen to others? Think of a time when you were listened to really well. How did that make you feel? Then, think of a time when you were NOT listened to. How did THAT make you feel?
Next – again, it’s not of lesser importance, it’s just next: VALIDATE the other person’s accomplishments, important milestones and contributions. By validate, I don’t mean punching someone’s parking ticket. Validate also means to acknowledge, recognize, compliment, celebrate, encourage. By validating the other person’s efforts or important events, you affirm that the person is Somebody to you and everyone around you. A note of praise for a job well done, a birthday or anniversary card, a word of encouragement to help during a rough time will go far. One of my teachers had a saying I will never forget: It costs no more to be kind. He practiced what he preached, treating students, parents, fellow teachers, and friends with respect. Because of his example, so have I. Oh, sometimes it’s not easy. People sometimes can be difficult to work with. Overall, though, it works more times than it doesn’t.
I think everyone has at least one airline snafu story to tell. Here’s mine: a late flight and a missed connection. I was in the customer service line behind a very angry lady. It was late at night, I was tired, and I figured that it was best to be as kind as I could to the poor agent on the receiving end of that lady’s tirade. After awhile, another agent came to help, saw and heard the commotion, promptly avoided the fuming lady and helped me retrieve my bag, reserve a hotel room for the night, and rebook my flight for the next morning. The angry lady was still there when I left for the hotel. I wonder what might have happened if that angry lady had treated the agent like a Somebody rather than a Nobody. Yes, indeed, it costs no more to be kind.
When you believe that Everybody is Somebody, and begin to put that into everyday practice, it’s an amazing shift that Everybody will notice. And Nobody will be a Nobody or just an Anybody to you. It doesn’t cost you anymore, and the payback makes it all worthwhile.
I’ve asked you several open-ended questions already in this podcast, so let’s repeat them now and give you another chance to think how you will answer them for yourself. Here they are:
1. How does “Everybody is Somebody” show up in your life?
2. Think of a time when you were listened to really well. How did that make you feel?
3. What is one thing you CAN do to validate another person’s accomplishment or special life event? Then – what WILL you do?
Now, what’s that Special Key for this episode? Why, it’s the Key of E for Everybody. Everybody is Somebody. Nobody is Nobody. Hey, it’s not a new idea. Composers Gilbert & Sullivan wrote this line in one of their operettas, Gondoliers, a long time ago: “…when everyone is somebody, then no one’s anybody…”
The next podcast is about Meeting Mania. Some people love meetings. Others have slightly different opinions. Have you ever felt like a meeting was worthwhile – or a big waste of everyone’s time and energy? Some people look forward to the next meeting. Some look forward to avoiding it if at all possible. What’s your take on it? Join me next time for a lively romp through Meeting Mania.
Until then, stay safe and well, my friend, and please remember that Everybody is Somebody, and Nobody is Nobody. It doesn’t cost you any more…