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7 Leadership Tips from Dale Carnegie for Entrepreneurs

I’m extremely proud of the success I’ve had as an entrepreneur and CEO of Ryer Real Estate Holdings, but I certainly never could have achieved all the success on my own; it’s been a team effort from day one and need to thank my team and in strategic partners that have made this a success. […]

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I’m extremely proud of the success I’ve had as an entrepreneur and CEO of Ryer Real Estate Holdings, but I certainly never could have achieved all the success on my own; it’s been a team effort from day one and need to thank my team and in strategic partners that have made this a success.

So to the big question how do you get the right people to stick around and believe in your vision as a startup and see the process through? The key thing to understand is that it’s not always about money, in fact many times money is by product docent play a key role in retaining talent. A competitive salary is obviously useful when pitching talent, but less so in terms of retaining them. Who they work for — and who they work with— rank much higher on the list of contributors to job satisfaction. 

Always remember a company will never be hugely successful unless you harness the leadership skills of the founders, who then harness the passion of their employees.

Nearly a hundred years ago, Dale Carnegie realized the need for leadership training, and he started lecturing on achieving personal success. At that time, Carnegie’s popularity boomed, and he became famous. Carnegie hired a team of researchers and worked with them to create a curriculum that featured lessons from prominent leaders like Lincoln and Edison. Also, Carnegie used psychology to teach individuals how to become excellent leaders.

Nowadays, Carnegie’s pieces of training are still worthwhile because his courses are so fantastic, they are considered timeless. Carnegie is best known for his 1936 book How to Win Friends & Influence People, which features a collection of his most important teachings. Many of Carnegie’s insights in that book are still relevant nowadays. To help you understand what Carnegie felt the best leaders did, I have created a list of tips from his book so that you can also benefit from his knowledge in leadership.

#1 The Best Leaders are Easy with Criticism

As a leader, you will need to tell your team when somebody isn’t working up to par. Occasionally, somebody on your team may need to be disciplined. Whenever you approach this, you’ll need to be kind, optimistic, and helpful so that your underperforming employee won’t resent you. So, how would Carnegie handle such a situation? Carnegie tells us that a leader should point out the strengths of that individual worker’s performance before engaging in criticism. Carnegie says, “Beginning with praise is like the dentist who begins his work with Novocain.”

#2 The Best Leaders Point Out Mistakes Indirectly

Carnegie also encourages leaders to give their employees the benefit of the doubt when workers make mistakes. Carnegie feels this strategy is worth it when an employee makes a mistake because it allows you to dodge the resentment factor.

Carnegie gives an example of Charles Schwab, the famous steel magnate, in his book. Schwab was overseeing one of his mills when he saw a few workers smoking near a “non-smoking” sign. Instead of angrily telling them to stop and pointing at the sign, Schwab stopped and handed the men a few cigars. Then, he said that he’d appreciate them taking their activity outdoors. They complied.

Again, by combining something positive, the gift of the cigars, with a nicely stated critical comment, Schwab was able to accomplish his task without creating any additional resentment. By effectively handling the situation, Schwab kept his employees not only happy but also compliant.

#3 The Best Leaders are Honest About Their Mistakes

Carnegie tells us that the most successful leaders don’t act like flawless, perfect lions. “Admitting one’s own mistakes — even when one hasn’t corrected them — can help convince somebody to change his behavior,” Carnegie writes.

If you are willing to admit your mistakes in front of your team, they are more likely to respect you because they’ll realize that you are working on becoming a better leader. And, when people try to become better leaders in front of their team, then their team will reciprocate and try to become better employees. It’s all about leading by example, and it’s an effective way to get the job done.

#4 The Best Leaders Use Suggestions Instead of Orders

Carnegie discovered that Owen D. Young, the famous industrialist, used suggestions instead of orders when working with his employees. Young said things like, “You might want to…” and “Do you think this idea would work?” Young gave his employees the chance to figure things out for themselves.

He avoided telling his workers what to do with direct orders because he realized his employees would learn from their mistakes. Also, by using suggestions instead of orders, Young acted as he cared about his employee’s individual opinions. Treating your employees like they are individuals can effectively go a long way when it comes to team building.

#5 The Best Leaders Don’t Humiliate Others

The best leaders, even when they are demoting or firing an employee, avoid humiliating their employees. Instead, a successful leader will keep a person’s dignity in mind. After all, it may benefit a leader, later onto stay friendly with an employee when things don’t work out. That’s because the leader may see the employee again, primarily since they work in the same industry. All it takes is one angry ex-employee to derail a former manager’s reputation.

#6 The Best Leaders Emphasize Achievement

“Abilities wither under criticism; they blossom under encouragement,” Carnegie said. So, effective leaders use a lot of praise, but they genuinely mean it when they say things. People all crave recognition, but everybody hates insincerity. Do your best to point out when an employee is performing well, and when you notice real efforts towards improvement.

#7 The Best Leaders Make Challenges Appear Easy

Carnegie mentions that the best leaders can break down challenging tasks for their team, making things look effortless. Much of this is about how you act as a leader in front of your team. If you can stay encouraged and upbeat even in the face of a difficult task and break down the project so that everybody pitches in, you’ll create far less anxiety in your team. However, if you act negative and anxious in front of your team, they will likely reflect your emotions. So, you’ll need to get used to leading by example.

 

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