Gratitude and the Platinum Rule

Published on
April 17, 2024
Time to read: 
A rainbow heart made up of words from many different languages all meaning Thank You.
I love how this image expresses gratitude in so many different languages!

Have you ever heard of the Platinum Rule?

I first learned about the Platinum Rule, almost a decade ago, while attending a session on LGBTQ+ Awareness for people working in the tourism industry in my region. I took the course because I wanted to learn more about the LGBTQ+ community.  I remember the platinum rule being explained this way – find out how others wish to be treated, and treat them that way.  This is very different from the golden rule of “treat others as you wish to be treated.”

I recommend that leaders follow the Platinum Rule when engaging with their team members. This starts by investing time to get to know them, to find out how they wish to be addressed (how to pronounce their name – DON’T give people nick names because you’re too lazy to learn), what their gifts are (aptitudes, interests, skills and knowledge), what their aspirations are, how they prefer to communicate (in writing, verbally, combination), and what you can do to support them.  

Last, but not least, learn how they prefer to be thanked. Some folks like a lot of excitement, awards and public recognition.  Others prefer a quiet expression of gratitude specifying exactly what you’re thankful for.

Gratitude Story

I’d like to share my experience with being thanked as a volunteer.  I consciously choose roles that interest me, and give me an outlet to share my gifts, with not for profits and professional associations whose values align with mine.  I consider volunteering to be one of the best ways to show my gratitude for the gifts I have been given, and the teachings that others have shared with me.  I believe in paying it forward.

Many organizations buy people flowers, or alcoholic beverages to show their appreciation.  I prefer my flowers to be growing in the earth, and I don’t drink alcohol. I’ve been offered a bottle of wine as thanks more times than I care to remember.

I’ve learned to message early, and persistently, that if you really want to thank me, I prefer books.  If you don’t know what books to buy me, gift cards to book stores are always appreciated!

I also enjoy people sharing their gratitude with heartfelt words of appreciation, in whatever manner they prefer to communicate!

Gratitude and the Platinum Rule

This lesson of showing gratitude, in the manner in which people wish to be shown gratitude, is an important one.

Throwing a huge party, and dragging folks up on a stage can be totally traumatizing for a person you’re trying to show your appreciation for, and cause them to leave your organization. While the same experience could be a dream come true for another person in your organization.

I’m sharing the Platinum Rule with you, so that you can learn to show your appreciation in a way that is welcome to the person you’re grateful for. In the long run, your relationship with each other will benefit.