This is part 4 of my review/breakdown of what I learned by reading “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie.
Here, in part 4, Carnegie shows us how to “Be a Leader: How to change People without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment”
Part 4 is comprised of 9 chapters showing both theory and example of how to be a great leader. Let’s dive right in:
If You Must Find Fault, This is the Way to Begin
I’ll begin this chapter with the example Carnegie started it with. A friend of his was a guest at the White House for a weekend during Calvin Coolidge’s administration. Drifting into the President’s private office, he heard him say to one of his secretaries, “That’s a pretty dress you are wearing this morning, and you are a very attractive young woman.”
Given Coolidge’s usually quiet demeanor, the secretary was taken off guard and blushed in confusion. Coolidge then said “Now, don’t get stuck up. I just said that to make you feel good. From now on, I wish you would be a little bit more careful with your punctuation.”
The psychology here is that it is much easier to take criticism or bad news after we have heard soe praise of our good points.
President Lincoln was the Grand Master of this particular technique. An excellent example can be found in this book of a letter Lincoln wrote to then-General Joseph Hooker.
If you absolutely must bring up some bad news to someone, begin by first offering up genuine and authentic praise of one or more of the person’s good points. This will help to soften the blow.
How to criticize-And Not Be Hated for It.
The lesso here is to “Call attention to People’s Mistakes Indirectly”. One of the best examples given in this chapter is of Johnnie, a typical student in school. His parents, being ever conscious of the power of changing one three-letter word to another, say this:
“Johnnie, we’re proud of you for bringing up your grades so much in Algebra this semester, and if you continue with the same conscientious efforts next semester, I have no doubt you’ll have the highest grade in the class!”
Replace the word BUT with the word AND, and you’ll get far more cooperation from the other person. This goes well with the last chapter. Begin the criticism with genuine positive praise, use the word “and”, then suggest some change you’d like made.
Talk About Your Own Mistakes First
Again, this chapter deals with criticism. When you are about to have to lay some criticism on another person, begin by acknowledging your mistakes first. This serves to show the other person that making mistakes are not the end of the world. Quite the contrary, mistakes are what make us as people. Mistakes are our friend, so to speak, for the lessone we learn along the way. If the person you are criticizing is already feeling bad about the mistake, acknowledging your past related mistakes serve to let them know that it’s ok to be human.
No One Likes To Take Orders
Ask questions instead of giving direct orders. This is also along the lines of letting the other person take ownership for what they are doing. Rather than say, “Roy, I need you to move the trucks to the back lot,” try saying “Roy, don’t you think the trucks might look better in the back lot, so the customers have more room to get around the front lot?”
A simple step, yet so very powerful.
Let the Other Person Save Face
If you find yourself in need of doing something unpleasant to a fellow worker, it is a much better proposition to handle the situation such that the other person is not made to look bad in light of his or her peers.
The example in this chapter is of Charles Steinmetz of the General Electric Company. He was a genius when it came to electricity, but was a failure as the head of GE’s Calculating department. Rather than fire him, as was suggested, the company decided to keep him on, in the new position (created or him) of Consulting Engineer of the General Electric Company. This allowed the company to get a better match as a departmental head, without losing the company’s best engineer.
How to Spur People on to Success
This chapter makes important mention of the research in behavioral psychology by B.F. Skinner. Skinner found that when criticism is minimized and praise is emphasized, the good things people do will be reinforced and the poorer things will atrophy due to lack of attention.
The lesson in this chapter? “Praise the Slightest improvement and praise every improvement.”
Give a Dog a Good Name
In this chapter, I learned to “Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.”
A teacher once “inherited” the most problemed and troubled boy in the school to her class, at the beginning of the year. When it came time to take roll the first day in class, she said to him, “You look like a mighty fine boy. I’ve heard there might be problems in the class with disruption. I’d like to make you my deputy and you be in charge of keeping order in the classroom.” The result? Improved grades for this boy, better attitude, no further discipline problems. a true Win-Win for everyone.
Make the Fault Seem Easy to Correct
Each one of us needs to improve in something. And each one of us will likely be called on to help at least one person in some form or fashion. Rather than saying things like, “Wow, you’ve got a LOT of work to do to improve”, try “You seem to have the fundamentals down naturally, we should have you doing this in no time.”
Perception is everything. If you can make the other person perceive that it is an easy fault to address and correct, then it will be.
Making People Glad to Do What You Want
This goes back to the chapter on letting the other person save face. If you need to have someone perform some task for you, find a creative or novel way to make them glad to do it. If it involves the kid cleaning and sorting the stuff in the garage, offer to pay them a “commission” on a per-volume basis. The mroe that gets cleaned the first day, the more you get.
This concludes the outlining of what I’ve learned by reading this book. I hope that you’ve gotten some good information from it. If you have anything you’d like to add, whether it’s an “aha” moment, or just a story about how you’ve used some of these techniques, feel free to use the comment form below.
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