Influencing People

Not everyone is a leader, nor does everyone want to be a leader, and that is okay. Leadership does not always come from your position. People can hold a manager’s position but not be a leader.

Leadership is showing up, speaking up and putting yourself out there. Leadership is listening to others and sharing your thoughts and opinions. Leadership is inspiring others and lifting another.

Dale Carnegie’s lessons on how to Win Friends and Influence People has stood the test of time, written in the 1930’s the lessons Carnegie taught continues today in seminars and leadership training. The classic principles are building blocks and can improve all your relationships both professional and personal.

  1. Do not criticize, condemn or complain

Carnegie said “…any fool can criticize…”, it takes character and self-control to be forgiving.

 2. Be generous with Praise

Everyone does better work when they feel appreciated. Compliment people on their accomplishments. Don’t use generic or blanket compliments such as “you’re awesome”, be specific and sincere with your praise.

 3.Remember their name

One of the best-kept secrets of leaders is that they work hard at remembering the names of the people they meet. Nothing makes a person feel more important than having their name remembered.

 4. Be genuinely interested in other people

Carnegie taught that you can influence more people by becoming genuinely interested in others than trying to get others interested in you. 75% of your time should be listening and 25% of the time is you speaking. Nelson Mandela was the last to speak. He always listened to others first, let them share their thoughts and opinions. If you are the leader, present the problem to the team and allow them the opportunity to discuss possible solutions before you offer your opinion and thoughts. Learn from Nelson Mandela, always be the last to speak in these kinds of meetings.

Another secret a good leader uses is that they are not afraid to ask. Too often employees are often too timid to ask their managers and supervisors questions. Most leaders do all they can to make themselves accessible. They want to share their knowledge and contacts. One of the books I read, The Power of Choice, the author Michael Hyter told many stories where he just asked questions. Show initiative, ask your supervisors, managers and CEO’s questions, “how did you……?” “What advice would you give to……” Ask any entrepreneur how they become successful in their particular field, ask them what it took to get started. If you want to know, just ask others who have experienced it questions, there are so many learning opportunities available if we just ask others to share their knowledge and experiences.

  1. Be quick to acknowledge your own mistakes

Take responsibility for your actions, be humble enough to admit your mistakes. Apologize, learn from your mistakes and continue to seek ways to improve yourself both professionally and personally.

  1. Do not attempt to “win” an argument

Let’s face it, no one likes a “know it all” Carnegie councils the best way to win an argument is to avoid it. Even presenting objective facts does not get you any closer to being likable if you always have to have the last word and be right.

  1. Begin on Common Ground

Conflict can be good, Ed Catmull with Pixar encourages good candid discussion with varying opinions improve creativity and growth. Conflict is good when it starts on the same common ground with the same goal in sight.

People do not do business or build relationships with a company or entity, they build their associations with their contacts, the people who work for the business. Everyone regardless of the position can influence others. Influencing others is when what you say or do inspires another human to be better. Simon Sinek said leaders are those who are in a position of power or authority, those who lead, however, inspire those around them.

Cheryl Viola, MBA, Executive Director