Wednesday, February 25, 2009


One of my favorite sources on leadership skills, Dale Carnegie, a master of the positive, wrote timeless principles on influence and leadership in his famous book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People”. Although Mr. Carnegie died in 1955, his legacy continues through his work which is just as relevant today as when first written in 1936.

Here is an excerpt from his book.

“Principle 1: Don’t Criticize, Condemn or Complain

Criticism is futile because it puts a person on the defensive and usually makes him strive to justify himself. Criticism is dangerous, because it wounds a person’s precious pride, hurts his sense of importance and arouses resentment.

Benjamin Franklin, tactless in his youth, became so diplomatic, so adroit at handling people, that he was made American ambassador to France. The secret to his success? “I will speak ill of no man,” he said, “and speak all the good I know of everybody.” Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.”

Here are some of Dale Carnegie’s points on influence and leadership

“Don’t point out when people are wrong. Respect differing viewpoints.”

“When you are wrong, admit it emphatically and move on.”

“You will get more in business with honey than vinegar. Be friendly and gentle.”

“Let the other person talk more than you do. Listen fully.”

“Lead people to the conclusion you want by making suggestions, but ultimately let a person feel the idea was his or hers.”

“Believe people are inherently good and honest.”

“Use questions to lead people instead of giving direct orders.”

“Be supportive and make mistakes seem easy to correct.”

“See the best in people and then they will rise to your expectation.”

According to Gary Convis, a piece of key leadership advice was given to him by Kan Higashi (Both were senior NUMMI leaders), “lead the organization as if you have no power.”

The ability to influence is one of the core skills we need to master on our lean journey.

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