Do you want to be successful in business and life?Then it takes mastery in dealing with people.
Seeing so many people in attack mode these days can be disheartening. Maybe it’s time we remember the basics of human relations much like baseball players will return to the fundamentals of their swing when they are in a slump.
The best guide on effective human relations that I have ever encountered is How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, published in 1936. Prior to writing the book, Carnegie spent 20 years researching the habits of successful people. The book has sold over 30 million copies and is still listed on Amazon’s top 100 best selling books.
This is the first in a series of articles where I will encapsulate each of Dale Carnegie’s timeless, life-changing principles for dealing with people. (Adapted from How to Win Friends and Influence People.)
Human Relations Principle #1: Don’t criticize, condemn or complain (or “If you want to gather honey, don’t kick over the beehive.”)
The easiest thing to do in the world is to criticize, condemn and complain (The 3Cs). It is the lowest form of human creative expression and takes little energy and effort. Using the 3Cs is a destructive habit we mistakenly choose in an effort to prove our superiority over another person in a battle which no one can win.
No one likes to be told they’re wrong. It is our natural instinct to defend ourselves and feel misunderstood when we are criticized or condemned. It’s our coping mechanism to deal with the sting and pain to our self-pride. And, who likes being around a complainer?
It is our human nature to resist admitting fault. When people are criticized or humiliated, they rarely respond well and will often become defensive and resent their critic. It will never result in the changed behavior we desire from another person.
Al Capone Saw Himself as a Public Benefactor
Even the gangster Al Capone justified his criminal actions by saying, “I have spent the best years of my life giving people the lighter pleasures, helping them have a good time, and all I get is abuse, the existence of a hunted man.” He actually regarded himself as a public benefactor—an unappreciated and misunderstood public benefactor.
Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain—and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.
Carlyle shared, “A great man shows his greatness by the way he treats little men.” Abraham Lincoln was such a man.
Abe Lincoln Wrote Scathing Letters, However…
Lincoln learned to control his words and temper to the degree that his Secretary of War had this to say this as Lincoln lay dying, “There lies the most perfect ruler of men that the world has ever seen.” What drew these glowing remarks? Time and time again, during the Civil War, Lincoln put a new general at the head of the Army of the Potomac and each one blundered tragically and drove Lincoln to pacing the floor in despair. At one crucial point in the War, he gave General Meade specific orders to attack Lee that most likely would have ended the War a lot sooner. Meade disobeyed the orders. So, what did Lincoln do? He wrote Meade a scathing letter venting his anger and disappointment. What was Meade’s response? Lincoln never sent the letter. It was found amongst his papers after his death. He most likely decided that expressing his true feelings would serve no constructive purpose for him, Meade, or our nation.
Criticizing another person is a sign of a leader under stress. A mature leader never needs to resort to this tactic.
Much success and fulfillment in master human relations,