Day 68. Learning how to make lemonade can help you become a better leader.

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 68.  Wednesday, June 1, 2011
I distinctly remember Tuesday September 27, 2010.  Dale Carnegie’s first principle “don’t criticize, condemn or complain” was smashed on my head.

Make lemonade

Fast forward to today.  I had a meeting with an individual named Pablo.  I prepared for this meeting carefully.  Part of me dreaded it.  I didn’t want to put Pablo through the experience I went through in September.  Our circumstances surrounding the meetings are entirely different but if there’s one thing I have learned—criticizing, condemning and complaining does not motivate anyone to work harder.  It creates resentment.  It hurts a person’s pride.  It does not create a positive environment.  Making lemonade from such a sour event is possible—but it doesn’t happen easily or immediately. 

Before walking into the meeting with Pablo I reviewed Dale Carnegie principles from How to Win Friends and Influence People and How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.  I even said a prayer before entering the conference room.  I want Pablo to succeed.  I do not want to beat him down.  I do want to encourage, help him grow and reach his potential because he is a good employee.  People are all wired differently and need to be managed accordingly.  I cannot expect Pablo to change—so knowing his work habits I can adapt my management skills to bring out the best in him. 

We went through some plans for the next quarter.  I outlined some new ideas and opportunities where I think his talents will flourish.  I gave him specific directions, deadlines and encouragement.  I invited questions and called attention to some concerns indirectly.  The meeting last a half hour and ended on a good note.

There are multiple principles used in this scenario but the main one I’d like to focus on is from How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 17.  Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.

Another way of stating Principle 17—practice empathy.  Put yourself in the other person’s shoes.  Acknowledge a person is human and has feelings.  Once you do that—you can implement the other principles.  Point out mistakes indirectly.  Set reasonable goals and give the person a good reputation to live up to.  The goal is not to beat a person down with a stick especially when he/she has demonstrated in the past that he/she is a good employee.  When you do this—the results are employees/friends/family members/etc that are willing to apply themselves toward achieving a goal because you have indicated you have confidence in their ability.  This is far better than beating a person with a stick and scratching your head wondering why they still aren’t performing well. 

Housekeeping / Notes:
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