As a cataloger, I have to follow rules every day. Some of them make sense; many of them do not. But that’s a subject for a different post.

Today I’m thinking that if everyone in the workplace followed 5 simple rules life would be a lot easier.

Listen. Listening is not really as simple as it sounds, but it should be. Listening means being open to what you’re hearing even if you don’t agree with it. Listening means taking in the words of the other person or persons without formulating your own in the process. Listening means paying attention and not only hearing what you want to hear, but hearing what you don’t want to hear, too.

Don’t Judge. While you’re listening, and after, don’t make a hasty judgment, or any judgment for that matter. Maybe what you’ve just heard sounds like the most ridiculous idea ever proposed in the history of civilization, but who are you to really make that judgment? You can disagree with an idea; you can reject an idea; you can (and should) build upon the ideas of others. But judging an idea calls into question the validity of the person proposing the idea. Who likes to be judged?

Don’t Undermine.  If the most ridiculous idea ever proposed in the history of civilization has someone gotten past your judgment meter and made it into the books, don’t undermine the idea (or your colleagues) by telling everyone you know how unbelievable it is that this completely stupid idea got taken seriously. If you must–if it’s necessary for the benefit of your organization–voice your dissent loudly and clearly; don’t whisper it behind anyone’s back unless you would like to receive the same treatment.

Be honest. This follows naturally. If you don’t like what someone has said, say so without judging what was said or who said it. You have a right to disagree. And others have the right to disagree with you. Without honesty, false acquiescence turns into hidden resentment, which builds up and turns into frustration and that leads nowhere.

Let it go. If you’ve listened, refrained from judgment, resisted the urge to undermine, and have honestly stated your position, then let it go. Whatever it is, let it go. For some reason, you are seeing things differently than others involved in the process. And maybe you are the one who is wrong. Hard to believe, but true!

And what I have just determined is this: it is much easier to create rules than to follow them. Because while these sound great in theory, I know that they are much harder to live with in reality. But these are the rules I am going to try very hard to follow. And not just in the workplace, but in life.

Do they make sense to you? What rules would you add to the list?