This post builds on Friday’s post by my coauthor about Raising Good Humans. The phrase “we’re all human” is often used to refer to our fallibility, but that’s not where I’m going with this post. This quote from Albert Einstein captures my intent:
“I speak to everyone in the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the president of a university.”
I’m not surprised that the inventor of relativity took this approach to interacting with other people. He obviously had nothing to prove intellectually and, according to accounts, was incessantly trying to learn. That degree of inquisitiveness makes everyone a resource.
I am surprised however that many people who rise through the ranks of their respective fields don’t have the same attitude on the way up the ladder. I’ve seen too many middle managers or executives who don’t have the time of day for anyone that can’t “do something” for them. I hear many of these “leaders’ tell the NASA story about how President Kennedy asked a janitor in one of NASA’s facilities what he was doing that day. The janitor replied, “I’m sending a man to the moon.” It’s a great story about how everyone contributes to an organization’s mission regardless of role AND that we should all treat each other as contributing members of the team. However, the walk needs to match the talk.
I’ll take the Einstein way any day. Interacting with the cleanup crew, the gym staff, the security guards, or anyone else in our organization ALWAYS makes me smile and lifts my spirit no matter how the day is going. I hope it does the same for them and that ultimately our team is stronger because of a brief, but sincere interaction.
Being a good human means being good to other humans…all of them.