When People Treat You Poorly

African American businessman screaming. I recently re-read a book by John Maxwell titled “Ethics 101.”   This is a great book and only 100 pages long.  Every time I read it I pick up another pearl to use in my everyday life.

There are so many great points that he makes in this book that drive the main point that all workplace leadership must be ethical and that ethics need to be at top of the business priority list.

He makes the point that it is easy to show kindness to those that show kindness to you, but he states that we need to treat people better than they have treated us and to do so on a regular basis.

Maxwell asks the questions “How do you respond to poor treatment by others?  Do you meet aggression with aggression?  Do you return disrespect with disrespect?”

He states, and I am sure we all agree, that it does not take much unkindness to make a situation escalate into greater conflict.

I learned a great lesson a long time ago and it has really paid off over the years to lessen the stress and anger when dealing with others who were unkind for one reason or another – “kill them with kindness.”

Not only does it make you feel great when you are doing it because your attitude becomes altered in the positive, but the person who you are “killing” is usually stunned by your niceness.

Sometimes when I have done this, it actually has turned the other person’s nastiness into niceness.  People are becoming so use to being treated poorly that they just accept it and respond likewise.

Maxwell says that he has always “taken the high road” in his treatment of others no matter if they have taken the “low road” with him.  The high road is always the better road no matter what.

It takes a person of strong character to continually treat others better than they treat you, but if we continue to practice it our everyday world and workplaces will be much better for it.

Below is a link that will give you more information on John Maxwell’s books.

Ethics 101


18 thoughts on “When People Treat You Poorly

  1. Tina,

    I so agree with the “kill them with kindness” approach to dealing with difficult people. I’ve dealt with people who make being nasty a part of their job and when I’m nice every day they end up mellowing at least a bit around me. Unfortunately it had no long-term effect, but my world was a bit better because I was nice to them.

    Have a great day.


  2. Very interesting Tina! I just signed up for a John Maxwell newsletter. He has been on my radar lately. Will definitely check this out.. Thanks for the info and have a great day..

  3. While I agree with this approach, I’d also suggest having as little interaction as possible with the bad apples. The world is full of wonderful people, including some who are in your workplace. Why not concentrate on them instead?

    • I agree with you on that note. I am always polite, but I do not have to be best friends with everyone. I to look for those that have the right spirit that keeps them moving forward . You can always pick these type of people out in a crowd, because they usually have a crowd around them. People gravitate to those that are uplifting.

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