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 in which you 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 the premise, here are ways that to lose friends and frustrate people:
#1: Think only about what is important to you.
Those who have children know that a parent must have unconditional love. You are sometimes surprised that no matter how much you do for your kids, they fail to appreciate it. Of course, as kids mature, they recognize the level of effort that you put into helping them succeed.
However, in the workforce, there is no time to be immature. You must avoid thinking only of what is important to you. For example, when your team performs good work, you should ensure they receive credit. If you take 100% of the recognition, you will alienate your 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 you are recognized for good performance, and not that you are superior a human being.
An excellent value I learned growing up in a migrant family is humility. You should respect everyone, and never think that you are too important. When you do, you lose touch with reality, and it will be only a matter of time before you tumble all the way back down. Of course, given your pompous attitude, you can expect a hard landing.
#3: Be nice only when things are going well.
It’s natural that you have a better attitude when things are going well. However, you must avoid a rude demeanor when under pressure or stress. The volatility of most of your workdays provides ample opportunity to treat others in an unprofessional manner.
Instead of barking at someone or even ignoring them, 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 you think about what is important to others. This doesn’t mean that you ignore what is good and essential to you. However, when you show respect and care for others, it’s only a matter of time before you yield positive results. Finally, when under duress, an excellent leader shows restraint, knowing that the problem will soon pass.