In all my years of being either an employee, leader or a consultant, the one thing I believe to be consistent is that eventually I could work with almost anyone. In the early years I didn’t think it took all that much skill, but over time I realized the way I worked was more of an anomaly than I’d ever dreamed of.

To say I can break my tactics into 3 easy steps isn’t totally legitimate. The three leadership tips I’m going to address seem like common sense, but maybe there’s no real concept that’s common anymore. After another week where someone in a major position of power was shown to have been abusing it for decades while someone younger in a similar position of power also abused his authority, it seems like a timely lesson on how to not only lead but behave oneself is in need of teaching.

1. Concentrate only on the job

No matter what job I was working at, no matter the responsibility, I always went to work with my mind on one thing; doing the job I was hired to do.

Most of the time that was pretty easy to do. I wasn’t one who liked getting into gossip or spending a lot of time talking about things unrelated the job at hand. I was friendly with everyone and could talk to anyone, but my goal was always in the front of my mind. If you’re going to be a good leader you can’t walk around being aloof because you never know who might come to your rescue when you need them… no matter what it is they do.

The only people I’ve ever had problems with were people who were more interested in themselves, being sneaky or trying to find ways not to work. I didn’t have much use for people whose only goal was to try to look good instead of producing good results. I’ve never liked working with people I couldn’t trust or believe. I never wanted to work with anyone whose ethics were in question.

Sometimes I had to try… at least once. Most of the time I worked around and without those people. The only time I had problems was when it involved someone in a higher position of authority than I had. In those cases I minimized the time I’d be around them and continued doing the job I had to do.

2. Treat everyone equally and fair

For most of my career I’ve mainly worked with women. There’s a truth that there are differences in working with women than with men. There’s also a bit of untruth in how different those relationships are… just as there are many untruths in how it is working with minorities… or in my case those in the majority.

What I’ve found is that all most people want it to be treated fairly and equally. If you hire people properly, you’ll find that most people want to show you how well they can do their job. All they want is for someone to notice them, give them a chance to give an opinion or offer a way to improve things (even if they don’t take advantage of it), give them the tools and training they need to do the job to the best of their ability and treat them with respect.

It doesn’t matter if you’re working with men or women. It doesn’t matter what anyone ethnic background or sexual preference is. It doesn’t matter if someone has a disability. Being qualified to do the job and given the chance to prove themselves is all that matters; who doesn’t want that from someone they’re working with?

3. Don’t do or say stupid stuff

This one should be the easiest of all for people to already know, but obviously it needs a bit of reinforcing.

If you’re in a position of leadership don’t talk about sex; don’t talk about politics; don’t talk about religion; don’t get into gossip. Don’t be sexist; don’t be racist; don’t be bigoted. Don’t fall into a trap where you start feeling so comfortable around people that you say something untoward or off the cuff that can (and will) be taken the wrong way.

Don’t hug people unless they need it in a period of grief. Don’t ask people for massages. Don’t touch people you don’t know intimately well as opposed to any other kind of “well”, and definitely don’t ask them to touch you! Don’t stare at members of the opposite sex in an inappropriate way; trust me, they always know if you do.

Instead, say hello, get to know people, learn how to evaluate their work and how to keep them motivated. Be a real and balanced person; is that really so hard?

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