I know you think you must have heard that one, and are tempted to Google it. Well – don’t (unless you like philosophy). It’s just me hijacking the name for the following discussion: on boss, customers (=bosses), and other relationships (spouses, the almighty form of a boss).
When your boss, customers, or other relations communicate something in length, details, mannerism, style, tone and other ways – you should consider reciprocate your response to stay in parity.
Well this is very trivial but often neglected. Amongst the options you have when a certain issue is presented by someone are:
This principal is basically suggesting the first option whenever possible. It drives harmony, alignment, and good communications. In some cases the 2nd option is applicable as well (I use 1:5 rule in general – works for me) when several pre-conditions are set (the forum of rejection is applicable and non offensive, the issue breaks strongly core values, beliefs or patterns you have – so you must challenge to give the opportunity to clarify, and others). The latter option is usually not helpful.
Note: Response in parity does not mean agreement. You can explain why you think otherwise. As long as you give the same amount of attention to this area, you “respond” well to the hidden expectation, and then reduce friction (even if you disagree). Many a times a laconic affirmation, is less valuable then a detailed debate and disagreement – when the issue was presented to show the significance, rather than to force YES.
Remember – This is specifically aimed at generic relationships where the original agenda set, is somehow unbalanced (boss sets agenda, and expects follow). In other relationships, as well as with intimate knowledge of the particular boss or customer style, a specific mannerism may override this principal – but it often still applies most of the time in any case.