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The Leadership Series is a group of articles that move us to helping people reach their full potential as they move to change society for the better.  I hope you grow through this review of one of my very favorite books.

In 1936, Dale Carnegie wrote a masterpiece called, “How to Win Friends and Influence People“.

It has sold 15 million copies since its original release and still stands as a pillar in American culture for wise leadership.  Warren Buffett took the related course from this book when he was 20 years old and he still has the certificate mounted on his wall.

Photo credit: cliff1066™ / Foter / CC BY

Photo credit: cliff1066™ / Foter / CC BY

While the book is not based on Scripture, nor does it claim to be Christian in nature, many of Carnegie’s points can also be found in the Proverbs.  So for us as Christians in the 21st century, we can still glean a heavy load of wisdom from this book.

This book has changed me personally, as I hold leadership in my family, in the church, in The Borough, and in my job as a nurse.  It’s a life-changer, for sure.

The following list is a word-for-word overview of Carnegie’s principles to be a good leader (though the comments for the sections are my own).  Utilizing these ideas, we can lead through influence and love rather than cold, hard command.

As you’ll see, the principles cross over into all spheres of life – business, church, family, culture, and daily life.  So it is relevant for our main focus at The Borough:  entrepreneurs & professionals, civic leaders, cultural creatives, and church planters.

If you are reading this, you are probably some sort of leader in the city already.  Use these principles impact those around you positively so that you can better help the city.

As you read these points, you might think to yourself that they enable other people in their own vanity.  Well, I say, and perhaps Dale Carnegie would agree with me, that instead these are ways to bear with those under our care and to give them dignity as men and women created by God and who bear His image.

Enjoy!  I know I did.

1. Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.

This point is more about criticizing/condemning/complaining about people in gossip-form.  There are certainly times when you have to tell people when something is wrong.

2. Give honest and sincere appreciation.

3. Arise in the other person an eager want.

Don’t just tell people what you need or want.  Help them to understand how they can benefit from your request.

4. Become genuinely interested in other people.

5. Smile.

It really does go a long way in making people feel more comfortable with you.

6. Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.

hopeSo say it often in conversation with them.  And most importantly, remember it when you meet them again.  Don’t give me that excuse, “I’m just not good with names”.  No, in reality, you don’t put the work into it that is necessary.

7. Be a good listener.  Encourage others to talk about themselves.

8. Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.

Man, did this one change my life.  Find a person’s passion and let them talk about it.  They want to talk about it and they will love you if you let them.

9. Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.

“Sincerely” being the key word here.  They are made in the image of God, too.  They are important.

10. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.

This doesn’t mean you never confront people.  It just means you gotta do it wisely and not just put the other person on the defensive.

11. Show respect for the other person’s opinions.  Never say, “You’re wrong.”

There are things to say to communicate the exact same thing, but “You’re wrong” will not be productive.

12. If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.

13. Begin in a friendly way.

14. Get the other person saying “yes, yes” immediately.

In conversation, ask questions and build rapport by putting them in the habit of responding affirmatively.

15. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.

16. Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.

Now, don’t be manipulative, but if they make the connection in their own mind, even if it’s through your guidance, then let them take credit for it.

17. Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.

18. Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.

19. Appeal to the nobler motives.

Let people hold on to their desires toward altruism.  It is a good in them that God put there, so let them understand how their actions will help others.

20. Dramatize your ideas.

prominentLearn to be a good story-teller.

21. Throw down a challenge.

Nothing wrong with making things a little competitive sometimes if it will produce motivation.  But don’t pit people against each other in ways that will cause harm, of course.

22. Begin with praise and honest appreciation.

23. Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.

There are ways of communicating that let people understand the gravity of their mistakes, but there is no reason to add embarrassment to the wound.  For example, don’t say, “You did well, but I need it this way next time.”  Say, “You did really well, and next time I know you’ll be able to improve even more as you work on x.”

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

25. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.

There’s no need to lord your authority over others.  If you have positional authority over someone, don’t exercise it. Power plays don’t help anyone. Exercise influential authority by respecting a person enough to ask them to do something for you.

26. Let the other person save face.

If there’s an opportunity to save someone obvious embarrassment, do it.  They’ll love you for it.

27. Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement.  Be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.”

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

Almost nothing makes a person happier than knowing people hold them in high esteem.  And there’s almost nothing more motivating than to keep up that reputation.

29. Use encouragement.  Make the fault easy to correct.

30. Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.


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Also published on Medium.



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