Influence: Winsome Leadership – Part II

Win support for your ideas.

“Dealing with people is probably the biggest problem you face, especially if you are in business,” Dale Carnegie suggests in his introduction to How to Win Friends and Influence People. He thus wrote the book to help men and women in business by “training them in the fine art of getting along with people in everyday business and social contacts.” Let’s take a look at some of his timeless suggestions.

How to Get Cooperation

If you can get someone to think that an idea is theirs, they will be much more likely to cooperate. Rather than ramming your opinion down someone else’s throat, make suggestions and allow them to come to their own conclusions. For a leader to do this, they have to be humble enough to let other people work things out for themselves, not to mention patient and willing to extend trust. This is a reflection of God’s patience and graciousness in letting us be part of His kingdom work.

A Formula that Will Work Wonders for You

Carnegie suggests that if you really try to see things from the other person’s point of view it will help your interactions with them. Carnegie admits that this is something that, “only wise, tolerant, exceptional people try to do.” If you can understand why another person thinks and acts as they do, you will have the key to understanding not only his actions, but also his personality. If you acknowledge the other person’s position, you allow them to save face and thus they will be more open to hearing you out. Also, taking the time to think through how you anticipate someone will respond will help you to best present your request to them.

What Everybody Wants

We all want some sympathy for our ideas. Carnegie suggests that the magic phrase to “stop arguments, eliminate ill feeling, create good will, and make the other person listen attentively” is: “I don’t blame you one iota for feeling as you do. If I were you, I would undoubtably feel just as you do.” Starting off a conversation with a sympathetic statement like this can soften even the hardest hearts. Carnegie would take people’s hostility and turn it into friendliness as a kind of game and this was how he managed to change their opinion of him.

An Appeal that Everybody Likes

Few will argue with you if you can appeal to the nobler motives. J. Pierpont Morgan observed that people usually have “two reasons for doing a thing: one that sounds good and a real one.” Carnegie suggests that we graciously overlook the “real” reason and appeal to the one that sounds good because we are all idealists at heart. So, to change people’s mind, appeal to the nobler motive. If we let people know that we believe they intend to be upright and fair, then they will more likely live up to those expectations.

The Movies Do It. TV Does It. Why Don’t You Do It?

The principle here is to dramatize your ideas. “This is the day of dramatization. Merely stating a truth isn’t enough. The truth has to be made vivid, interesting, dramatic.” Now, I don’t think we’d use the same terminology these days, but the idea that a personal story or memorable example can capture people’s imaginations more than just listing the facts holds true. With all the technology and hype, a real connection with someone can be refreshing and powerful. In either case, take time to find a creative way of presenting your idea – the word creative alludes to our ability to reflect God’s creative power and this brings Him glory.

When Nothing Else Works, Try This

When nothing else works, consider throwing down a challenge. Most of us have a competitive streak and so a challenge can be just the thing to motivate people to do what you desire of them. Of course you don’t want to manipulate them, but rather inspire them to greatness. Charles Schwab explained, “The way to get things done is to stimulate competition. I do not mean in a sordid money-getting way, but in the desire to excel.”

I hope that these time-proven tips will help you lead your staff through winsome influence. More than anything, it’s about taking the time to see your staff as individuals made in the image of God, rather than just a means to an end.

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