The Golden Rules of Professionalism

Everyone knows about the “Golden Rule,” right? The ancient law of reciprocity that reminds us how we should engage with others in society. Well, I would like to propose a set of golden rules for the business world.

These rules can help guide a positive daily engagement with everyone from leaders, to managers, to front line employees, to customers—helping all of us to be our most professional self.

  1. Make other people feel important. Treat everyone like they matter, regardless of their rank.
  1. What you intuition is telling you about a person, good or bad, is probably right. So follow it. Keep in mind, other people are probably using their intuition to size you up too!
  1. Let people know when they’re doing a good job. Give the proper respect when the proper respect is due. Give more credit than you take. Say these two words sincerely and a lot: Thank you!
  1. When in conflict, remember that there are always three sides; my side, the other person’s side and somewhere in the middle that has pieces of each side. Usually the middle is the truth. Embrace the middle place.
  1. Listen to people in a way that shows them that you genuinely care about what they’re saying. Remember, the same letters in the word listen can be jiggled around to spell silent.
  1. Be unconditionally good. Don’t use excuses like being stressed or overloaded to provide cover for less-than-good behavior. When the going gets tough, always move to the high road.

Who wants to work in an environment where you can’t resolve issues in a civil way, feel like you aren’t appreciated or you hard work goes unrecognized? Not me!

As insightful speaker Ty Howard put it, “Life is short… Work where you’re continuously accepted, respected, appreciated, encouraged, inspired, empowered, and valued.”

If you’re ready to increase your professionalism, start putting these rules into practice daily. You will see a change not only in yourself, but in how others react to and engage with you.

Get a free workbook with tips on stepping up your professionalism by sending an email to

About Bill Treasurer

Bill Treasurer is the author of The Leadership Killer, Reclaiming Humility in an Age of Arrogance, which he co-wrote with Captain John “Coach” Havlik, Navy SEAL (Retired). For the last two decades, Treasurer has worked with thousands of leader across the globe, at such organizations as NASA, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lenovo, UBS Bank, the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Learn more at:

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