I'll jump down from my soap box for a minute, but rest assured... this conversation is bound to be addressed again in the near future!
Mr. Carnegie begins his final exploration to excellence and influence by addressing how, if we must find fault, this is the way to begin:
It is always easier to listen to unpleasant things after we have heard some praise of our good points.
Beginning with praise is like the dentist who begins his work with Novocain. The patient still gets a drilling, but the Novocain is pain-killing.
Principle 1: Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
Calling attention to one's mistakes indirectly works wonders with sensitive people who may resent bitterly any direct criticism.
Principle 2: Call attention to people's mistakes indirectly.
If a few sentences humbling oneself and praising the other party can turn a haughty, insulted individual into a staunch friend, imagine what humility and praise can do for you and me in our daily contacts. Rightfully used, they will work veritable miracles in human relations.
Principle 3: Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
Principle 4: Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
Letting one save face! How important, how vitally important that is! And how few of us ever stop to think of it! We roughshod over the feelings of others, getting our own way, finding fault, issuing threats, criticizing a child or an employee in front of others, without even considering the hurt to the other person's pride. Whereas a few minutes' thought, a considerate word or two, a genuine understanding of the other person's attitude, would go so far toward alleviating the sting!
Even if we are right and the other person is definitely wrong, we only destroy ego by causing someone to lose face.
"I have no right to say or do anything that diminishes a man in his own eyes. What matters is not what I think of him, but what he thinks of himself. Hurting a man in his dignity is a crime."
-Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Principle 5: Let the other person save face.
"Praise is like sunlight to the warm human spirit; we cannot flower a grow without it. And yet, while most of us are only too ready to apply to others the cold wind of criticism, we are somehow reluctant to give our fellow the warm sunshine of praise." -Jess Lair, I Ain't Much, Baby--But I'm All I Got
Dale Carnegie retold this story of how praise changed someone's entire future...
In the early nineteenth century, a young man in London aspired to be a writer. But everything seemed to be against him. He had never been able to attend school more than four years. His father had been flung in jail because he couldn't pay his debts, and this young man often knew the pangs of hunger. Finally, he got a job pasting labels on bottles of blacking in a rat-infested warehouse, and he slept at night in a dismal attic room with two other boys--guttersnipes from the slums of London. He had so little confidence in his ability to write that he sneaked out and mailed his first manuscript in the dead of night so nobody would laugh at him. Story after story was refused. Finally the great day came when one was accepted. True, he wasn't paid a shilling for it, but one editor had praised him. One editor had given him recognition. He was so thrilled that he wandered aimlessly around the streets with tears rolling down his cheeks.
The praise, the recognition, that he received through getting one story in print, changed his whole life, for if it hadn't been for that encouragement, he might have spent his entire life working in rat-infested factories. You may have heard of that boy. His name was Charles Dickens.
Similar stories are told of great history influences, leaders, and business people like Enrico Caruso and H.G. Wells.
I particularly enjoyed the report of a Mr. John Ringelspaugh in communicating with his children. I figure that if a form of such communication would be acted upon an utilized on a regular basis there would be guaranteed less frustrated parents and fewer insubordinate youth.
"We decided to try praise instead of harping on their faults. It wasn't easy when all we could see were the negative things they were doing; it was really tough to find things to praise. Wee managed to find something, and within the first day or two some of the really upsetting things they were doing quit happening. Then some of their other faults began to disappear. They began capitalizing on the praise we were giving to them. They even began going out of their way to do things right. Neither of us could believe it. Of course, it didn't last forever, but the norm reached after things leveled off was so much better. It was no longer necessary to react the way we used to. The children were doing far more right things than wrong ones."
Everybody likes to be praise, but when praise is specific, it comes across as sincere--not something the other person may be saying just to make one feel good.
Talk about changing people. If you and I will inspire the people with whom we come in contact to a realization of the hidden treasures they possess, we can do far more than change people. We can literally transform them.
"Compared with what we ought to be, we are only half awake. We are making use of only a small part of our physical and mental resources. Stating the things broadly, the human individual thus lives far within his limits. He possesses powers of various sorts which he habitually fails to use."
Principle 6: Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be "hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise."
Principle 7: Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
Principle 8: Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
Always make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.
The effective leader should keep the following guidelines in mind when it is necessary to change attitudes or behavior:
1. Be sincere. Do not promise anything that you cannot deliver. Forget about the benefits to yourself and concentrate on the benefits to the other person.
2. Know exactly what it is you want the other person to do.
3. Be empathetic. Ask yourself what it is the other person really wants.
4. Consider the benefits that person will receive from doing what you suggest.
5. Match those benefits to the other person's wants.
6. When you make your request, put it in a form that will convey to the other person the idea that he personally will benefit. Instead of giving a curt order, we could express the same idea by showing the benefits they will get from doing the task.
Principle 9: Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.
In A Nutshell... How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment:
Be a Leader
A leader's job often includes changing your people's attitudes and behavior. Some suggestions to accomplish this:
Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
Call attention to peoples mistakes indirectly.
Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
Let the other person save face.
Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be "hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.
Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.