Sounds cliche, doesn’t it – ‘treat people as people’. Try it some day – just treat everyone you meet as a person, with care and respect. You don’t have to be agreeable all the time. Dissagree and agree with respect. Listen with care and interest. See the person as a person and not through the lens of their job title, or age, or gender, or background or what they might be able to do for you! I was working with a management team recently who sometimes struggles to perform at their best because of destructive conflict on their team. As I sat with them, I began an interesting little conversation. “Based on the evidence of my dealings with you in recent years, do you believe I genuinely care about each and every one of you?” “Yes” they said, without hesitation “Am I honest and even-handed with you?” “Yes” they said, without hesitation “Is that honestly sometimes difficult to hear?” “Yes definitely” they said, without hesitation “Then why do you accept what you don’t like to hear and see it as necessary at times?” They sat in silence for a while and then one of them said, “because you genuinely care about us and we know you are well intended.” One of the most difficult things to do in business, and in life, is to treat a person as a person and not as a means to just satisfying some need you have. I can’t say I don’t fall into this trap myself at times. One of the cornerstones to high performance environments is trust – knowing, no matter what the circumstances or differences are, you will be treated as a person – knowing people will deal with you intelligently, both intellectually and emotionally. One of the big obstacles to high performance in organisations is the inability of people to be constructively candid, to genuinely listen, to build trusting relationships and to really care about the people they are leading. Instead we often start by treating people as a means to executing strategies and expect them to engage and care like it is their own business. Those who first remember their own humanity and ability to treat people as people will always attract and fully engage the best people – and that’s the hard work done, the rest is easier. Richard Branson said recently “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to”. Simple but not easy Dave Gribben (firstname.lastname@example.org) works with businesses and teams enabling them create high performance environments. Dave specialises in leadership and team development and helping leaders and teams build on their strengths and emotional intelligence.