Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offence or Arousing Resentment

8:32 PM Amer Bekic 0 Comments

Fourth and last part of the summary How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.

1. Begin with a praise and honest appreciation.


“If you must find fault, this is the way to begin”


If your employee/colleague just finished his work on a project with a few mistakes. The best way to make him fix those mistakes and avoid making him feel bad, is to first point out the right things he did. Tell him he did a great job, credit his hard work, his commitment. Forget those mistakes for a moment and find the correct things he did. After giving him an honest praise, you can tell him about the things you dislike and you would like him to change.

People are much more eager to hear unpleasant things after they’ve been complimented and praised for their good points.

2. Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.


“How to criticize and not be hated for it”

Charles Schwab once found some of his employees smoking in a non-smoking area. Instead of showing his employees the sign “No Smoking” above their heads and say, “Can’t you read?” he decided to walk over to the men and hand them a cigar to each while saying “I’ll appreciate it, boys, if you will smoke these on the outside.”.
Charles used a great indirect way to address the issue, instead of criticizing the men directly. Most people don’t like when they get criticized directly, it makes them feel offended and inferior.

3. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.


“Talk about your own mistakes first”


Before pointing out on people’s mistakes, it is wise to first point out that you have made similar mistakes in the past. This way you appear humble and understanding to the other person, you don’t intimidate him, you encourage him to keep improving himself.

Carnegie was tempted to criticize his secretary for the rookie mistakes she did. But after a little thought, he realized that he had made worse mistakes when he was in her age, so instead of just pointing out her mistakes, she would tell her that he used to be in her situation years ago.

Admitting one’s own mistakes - even when one hasn’t corrected them - can help convince somebody to change his behavior.

4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.


“No one likes to take orders”


People don’t like getting told what to do. Instead of giving direct orders to people by saying “Do this” or “Don’t do that”, we should suggest by saying “You might consider” or “Do you think that will work”. This way the person will feel important, we give them the opportunity to correct their mistakes, rethink about the problem. In addition, it gives them the feeling of taking part in the decision.

Asking questions not only makes an order more palatable, it often stimulates the creativity of the persons whom you ask. People are more likely to accept an order if they have had a part in the decision that caused the order to be issued.

5. Let the other person save face.


Carnegie tells a story about a woman who had made a major mistake in her first project. When she was called to give a report, she admitted that she made a mistake and the report should be remade. Her boss instead of getting angry at her, she thanked her for her work and remarked that it was not unusual for a person to make an error on a new project and that he had confidence that the repeat survey would be accurate and meaningful to the company. He assured her, in front of all her colleagues, that he had faith in her and he knew she had done her best. He told her that the reason she failed was due to her lack of experience, not her insufficient ability.

Even if we are right and the other person is definitely wrong, we only destroy his ego by causing him to lose face. Antoine de Saint-Exupery wrote: "I have no right to say or do anything that diminishes a man in his own eyes. What matters is not what I think of him, but what he thinks of himself. Hurting a man in his dignity is a crime."

6. Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement.


“How to spur people on to success”


Praising people when they improve, is a very effective way to encourage them to keep doing it. Animal trainers use this technique for centuries, when the animal shows the slightest improvement on its behavior the trainer immediately rewards it with a treat. The same works for humans too, make them feel good when they improve and it will boost their dedication.

As psychologist Jess Lair comments: “Praise is like sunlight to the warm human spirit; we cannot flower and grow without it. And yet, while most of us are only too ready to apply to others the cold wind of criticism, we are somehow reluctant to give our fellow the warm sunshine of praise.”

7. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.


“Give a dog a good name”


A good example that Carnegie offers is when a mechanic working at a truck dealership had been falling off his job recently. The service manager, instead of firing or threatening the mechanic had another idea. He called the mechanic to his office and told him that his recent work has been off lately, something which was strange as he used to be an excellent mechanic in the past, having customers praising his work. The mechanic after that discussion significantly improved his performance since he wanted to live up to his reputation.
"If you want to improve a person in a certain aspect, act as though that particular trait was already one of his or her outstanding characteristics."

8. Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.


Telling someone, they’re bad and stupid, will only make things worse and kill the motivation to improve. If instead of that we encourage them every time they take a step towards improvement, we boost their motivation to continue.

Carnegie once declined to play a game of bridge with a friend, he stated that the game was too complicated for him. His friend told him, “Why, Dale, it is no trick at all. The is nothing to bridge except memory and judgment. You’ve written articles on memory. Bridge will be an inch for you. It’s right up your alley.” That helped Carnegie learn bridge in no time that night. All because his friend told him he had a natural flair for it and the game was made to seem easy.

Be liberal with your encouragement, make the thing seem easy to do, let the other person know that you have faith in his ability to do it, that he has an undeveloped flair for it - and he will practice until the dawn comes in the window in order to excel.

9. Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.


“Making people glad to do what you want”


To be an effective leader, keep these guidelines in mind when it is necessary to change attitudes or behavior:
  • Be sincere. Don’t promise anything you can’t deliver. Forget about the benefits to yourself and concentrate on the benefits to the other person.
  • Know exactly what you want the other person to do.
  • Be empathetic. Ask yourself what it is the other person really wants.
  • Consider the benefits that person will receive from doing what you suggest.
  • Match those benefits to the person’s wants.
  • When you make your request, put it in a form that will convey to the other person the idea that he personally will benefit.