If you treat an individual as he is, he will remain how he is. But if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
This has served as the basis for one of my life principles. I attempt, whenever possible, to treat people they way I see them becoming. Everyone has tremendous potential. We all inspire to be something that we are not, that is human. To this end, I like to view people that I am working with.
Now I get caught up in the moment like anyone else, so I am not without fault. I tend to get too sarcastic, passive aggressive and have a tendancy to attack too much. Regardless, my aim is to try to treat other people the way I hope they might be. This attitude has helped me in leadership roles as well as a member of the team. When my boss is being silly, I like to think of how might boss might become. What if I treated my bosses as if they were awesome?
It is possible that people could change their behavior based on how they get treated? That is not a question for me, it is fact. People respond to their inputs. If you treat them like responsible, ethical, hard working and moral people they tend to be that way. Now you will find disappointment. Your trust will violated. People will fail.
Yet, one idea is for certain. If you treat people like you mistrust them, then they will respond likewise.
Anyone who has known a “great person,” has always commented on how they have made them feel. You almost always like your managers because of how treat you, and talk to you. If you feel like they have your best interest heart, they will gain your loyalty. To put this in a simple phrase, “Intent Matters.”
Your intent towards people is always manifest. Whether you like it or not, you exude your intent. People can tell what that is, and they will have a “feeling” about you. They can tell when someone has a good intent toward them. Call it a spiritual thing or call it millions of years of enviornmental conditioning. We humans are effective machines at detecting intent.
For practical reasons, you should have good intent towards others. There are other more important reasons, moral and ethical. Can you look into the soul of another and see what they could become? My opinion is that we should all feel obligated to do so. If we all looked at each other through this lens, then our relationships would be much better. Treat them the way you want them to be, not as they are.