I’m sure many of you know of Dale Carnegie’s popular book called How to Win Friends and Influence People. The advice provided by Carnegie has withstood the test of time, and those who apply the tips and guidance are reaping the rewards.
However, I decided to take a different twist to the title of the book, and describe ways where we can actually lose friends and frustrate people. Of course, the goal here is that you recognize where you might be falling short, and take corrective action.
With this as our premise, here are ways that to lose friends and frustrate people:
#1: Think only about what is important to you.
Those of us who have children know that a parent must have unconditional love. We are sometimes surprised that no matter how much we do for our kids, they fail to appreciate it. Of course, as kids mature, they recognize the level of effort that we put into helping them succeed.
However, in the workforce, there is no time to be immature. We must avoid thinking only of what is important to us. For example, when our team performs good work, we should ensure they receive credit. If we take 100% of the recognition, we will alienate the team members. A smart leader understands the commitment and hard work of the employees.
#2: Forget where you started.
When working in my corporate jobs, I remember that some folks who were promoted felt they were “too good” to chat or socialize with those “beneath” them in rank. A promotion merely means that we are recognized for good performance, and not that we are superior human beings.
An excellent value I learned growing up in a migrant family is humility. We should respect everyone, and never think that we are too important. When we do, we lose touch with reality, and it will be only a matter of time before we tumble all the way back down. Of course, given our pompous attitude, we can expect a hard landing.
#3: Be nice only when things are going well.
It’s natural that we have a better attitude when things are going well. However, we must avoid a rude demeanor when under pressure or stress. The volatility of most of our workdays provides ample opportunity to treat others in an unprofessional manner.
Instead of barking at someone or even ignoring them, we can try the following: “Mary, I’m sorry I don’t have time right now to help with the project effort. There is something urgent that just hit my desk. Let me reach out to you this afternoon.” This approach makes it clear that you are busy, but that you respect the other person.
Winning friends and influencing people requires that we think about what is important to others. This doesn’t mean that we ignore what is good and essential to us. However, when we show respect and care for others, it’s only a matter of times before we yield positive results. Finally, when under duress, an excellent leader shows restraint, knowing that the problem will soon pass.