This phrase always pulls me up short

| 29 September 2023
You teach others how to treat you

I’ve been reminded of a phrase this week for a variety of reasons and as a result of numerous conversations. There’s been a theme emerging.

The phrase is this: ‘You teach others how to treat you’.

It’s a bit of a variation on the theme of ‘treat others as you would like to be treated yourself’:

Here’s what I mean:

  • If I want you to trust me, I must demonstrate trustworthiness.
  • If I want to be respected, I must respect myself and respect you.
  • If I want you to value what I bring, I must value myself, value what I bring AND value what you bring.


  • If you’re the go to person every time there’s a crisis – guess what, that’s what you’ve taught people to do (time for boundaries or sharing out of the workload?)
  • If you’re known as ‘the detail person’ but you know you’ve got some great strategic skills nobody will know unless you show them what you can do (because you’ve taught them that you’re great at detail).
  • If people interrupt you all day long, it’s because you’ve taught them it’s okay to do that (boundaries again……)

There’s more to this too.

If your people are treated like **** or as numbers rather than human beings – don’t expect them to look after your customers. They will instead ‘do as they are done to’ – or at least operate from a place of fear, blame and cover-up – or get out.

Some time ago, I worked with a wonderful lady who was the team joker. Which is all very well, but she wanted a promotion and nobody could imagine her in a more senior position – after all, she was the ‘funny one’ and they couldn’t always take her seriously. She eventually had to leave the organisation and re-invent herself in a new role – (not losing her humour and sense of fun of course – just dialling it down a little)

Years ago, when I first set up my business, I was so desperate to be liked by my clients (never a good thing in a coach) that I charged too little, did way too much and valued their time but not mine. Well, I taught them that that was okay!

Under promise and over deliver does not mean having no boundaries.

So how do you want to be treated?

And what do you need to stop or start doing to make it happen?

I’d love to know.