Positive Path Recommended Reading

As the saying goes . . . or does it?
By Karen Schmidt

Our language is full of sayings . . . some of them funny, some of them true and some of them just plain old stereotypes. There are many old sayings that we still use today that give an insight into what we’ve been told about relating to others. Whether you are conscious of it or not, they do influence your attitudes and the way you relate to people at work. Let’s examine some of them more closely to see the potential damage they can cause to workplace relationships.

A leopard doesn’t change it’s spots
Whilst this statement is probably true in the animal kingdom, experience tells us that people can change if they have a strong enough motivation to do so. Don’t ever “give up” on someone. Instead, change your tactics. Find another way of helping them see the benefits in making the change.

Do unto others the way you want to be done unto
This is not a bad start! However, if you study personality styles you will find that even better advice is to “treat other people the way they want to be treated”. Don’t assume everyone is the same as you. There are many ways that people differ from each other and we all like people who are like us so the more like the other person you can appear the better.

Once bitten twice shy
Probably good advice when it comes to unfriendly dogs but not so helpful when it involves a difficult co-worker. The reality is you need to learn to get along with people. If you let one bad experience taint all future dealings then your relationship is doomed. A much better saying to use is “give people the benefit of the doubt” and give them a second or third chance!

If you can’t beat them, join them
I think this is one of the most dangerous attitudes. It shouldn’t be a matter of winning and losing. Equally it’s not healthy to give up your own goals to suit the beliefs of the majority. One person standing up for what they believe in CAN make a difference!

Where there is smoke, there’s fire
Ah, the rumour mill. It’s alive and well in most organisations and the problem is many of us really do believe that there is always some truth in a rumour. That might seem OK, until you find yourself on the receiving end.

Better the devil you know
This is the belief that stops many of us from embracing change. Remember, the saying says the devil and that can’t be a good thing. Seems to make sense that any devil is something to be avoided.

If you can’t say something nice then don’t say anything at all
On one level this is not such a bad idea. However, taken to the extreme the result is that you avoid clearing the air on issues. This can lead to increased frustration on your part and more superficial relationships.

As you can see, each of these sayings has the potential to create negative attitudes in the workplace. So next time you find yourself using or even just thinking about one of these sayings, take a moment to think what affect it might be having on your relationships.

About the Author: Karen Schmidt is an award winning professional speaker, workshop leader and author who is on a mission to create fresh workplace attitudes that help people and organisations grow!. Karen believes you can increase productivity and bottom line results if your people have the right attitude in 5 key areas of: work, change, customers, people and managing. To find out more visit

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