No matter your way of life or line of work, you will always interact with people. The human race is a social species. The world is designed in such a way that almost everything passes through people. Friendships, acts of goodwill, love, recognition, acceptance are all granted by people.
Why We Have To Be Excellent At Human Relations
If you are a businessman you want people to buy the goods and services, you offer. If you are married, you want love and support from your partner. If you are a parent, you want obedience from your child. If you are a manager, you want loyalty, cooperation, and production from your subordinates. If you are human…you will want something from people. Period!
We cannot run away from it. You cannot remove people from the equation of success and happiness. When you learn how to build and drive human relations you will rise above men.
“It does not matter how intelligent you are, if you do not learn how to work with people, you will never succeed in life.”Jack Ma, CEO Alibaba
When you fail at human relations, you have almost failed at all other aspects of life.
The Human Relations Genius
Charles M. Schwab was a human relations genius. To be precise, he was a human engineer. His million-dollar personality elevated him from a day laborer to an executive earning over a million dollars per year (This was in the 19th century). His ability to drive human relationships was phenomenal.
When asked how he did it, his words have gone on to be documented and nailed as the foundations of human relations. This is what he said;
“I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among my people the greatest asset I possess, and the way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement.
There is nothing else that so kills the ambitions of a person as criticisms from superiors. I never criticize anyone. I believe in giving a person incentive to work.
So I am anxious to praise but loath to find fault. If I like anything, I am hearty in my approbation and lavish in my praise.”Charles Schwab
What Excellence in Human Relations Can Bring into Your Life
Charles M. Schwab began his career as a laborer in Carnegie’s Edgar Thomson Steel Works. By the time he was 19 years, he had already risen to the position of assistant manager. Then by the age of 25, he ascended into the top managerial position.
At the age of 35, he became the president of the Carnegie Steel Company. Surprisingly, he knew very little about steelworks. Most of the people he managed knew more about the works of steel than he did. Take that away from him but he still managed much. Andrew Carnegie, his employer paid him a million dollars every year- equivalent to three thousand dollars every day. Wait. He was not only paid the yearly salary, but he was also paid bonuses for what his PLEASING ability could get others to do.
One of his most documented exploits was how he managed to keep his workers motivated. When one of the working shifts had completed a day’s job, he would indicate their working score of how many heats they had made on the floor using a piece of chalk.
This is how it worked.
Let’s say the morning shift managed 6 heats. He would write the 6 on the floor and when the evening shift came, they would ask about it and they would close their shift with 7 heats. The following morning, the morning shift would learn of the 7 heats of the evening shift and they would work towards an 8. After a few days, the 6 had been replaced by a 10. One of the smallest steel manufacturing companies was on the path to being the leading steel manufacturer.
Below are some of the rules of the game so-called human relations. Here, you won’t receive physical red and yellow cards for foul play, you will instead lose in life. Play by them and you will win this game. Enjoy!
The Laws Of Human Engineering
LAW 1: Give Honest Praise And Sincere Appreciation
In the words of Dr. Dewey, the great philosopher, “the deepest urge in human beings is the desire to feel important.” Abraham Lincoln might have put it better. “Everybody likes a compliment.” Or maybe It is William James who said it best. “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”
Do We Really Need To Be Appreciated?
Any parent with more than two kids, a teacher, or a supervisor who oversees several employees will confirm this. People work hard to gain praise and appreciation. We even compete for it. We all want to be the ones doing the right things. We want to be great in every way possible. If you still have doubts, ask any man with more than one wife. His wives compete for his praise. They all want to impress their husband. Not solely because they love him that much but singly because they crave appreciation.
We all love compliments more so when they are made public. We want the whole world to see us when we are sent to the moon. Appreciation or praise in public can take you to the top of the world. Literally.
Like hunger or thirst, we crave to be appreciated and praised. Maslow must have forgotten to include appreciation as a basic need in his theory on the hierarchy of human needs.
Don’t you agree?
We Rarely Get Honest Praise And Sincere Appreciation
There is one thing we can all agree on. Honest praise and sincere appreciation are rare. Surprisingly, I can count the number of times I have received honest praise from the top of my head. I hardly make it to the fingers in my second hand (I was counting with my fingers).
Someone might tend to imply that I might have forgotten some of those moments. It never happens. No one forgets the few moments we receive sincere appreciation and honest praise. As Dale Carnegie put it, “kind words of appreciation sing in our memories for years like the music of morning stars.”
Appreciation nourishes our self-esteem. It makes us feel more important. It makes us feel good. It motivates us.
Why Not Flattery?
Note the intentional use of the words “sincere” praise and “honest” appreciation. Fake appreciation never works. Flattery always backfires. Flattery is insincere and selfish. Surprisingly most of us only receive appreciation through flattery. People will tend to flatter you when they want to receive favors from you.
Realize that people thrive on compliments. Notice and compliment other people for their achievements, ideas, contributions, appearances, and effort. Appreciate even the little things that people take for granted.
Remember this old saying, “I shall pass this way but once; any good, therefore that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor regret it, for I shall not pass this way again.”
The Second Law: Never Criticize or Condemn Anyone
As humans more so when we are in positions of power, we tend to embrace shaming others. Putting others in a bad light. Many people never realize the negative impacts of criticism until it’s too late.
Supervisors criticize their subordinates. Parents don’t criticize, they SCOLD their children and teachers CONDEMN their students. The worst in the pack are domineering husbands and nagging wives. THEY SUCK!
As much as we crave appreciation we dread condemnation.
Why Criticism Never Works
What happened the last time someone criticized you? Maybe it was your parent, teacher, or supervisor at work. You felt bad. Your self-esteem sunk. You loathed the person who criticized you. You lacked a sense of importance. Didn’t you? (Instantly you have remembered someone who criticized you)
Despite all these we still criticize others. Maybe we think that others celebrate criticism while we loathe it.
The thing with human beings is that we are creatures of emotion. We tend to think we are rational but we are not. Emotions influence our decision making processes more than logical reasoning.
What happens when someone is receiving criticism? They face down. Their shoulders droop. Their faces dim and they feel bad about themselves. We inflict emotional pain on them.
Neuroscientists have attested that the brain interprets emotional pain the same way as physical pain.
Criticism never works. It always boomerangs. The other person resents and acquires a defensive role. They end up not accepting their mistakes and backing up their wrongdoings. They instead defend themselves and try to prove they are not at fault. This is why when you rush to criticize the person who wronged you, he ends up defending himself and not apologizing.
Sad. Right? But you made them do it. They tend to defend themselves and prove the criticizer wrong.
For all these years, human beings have blindly mistaken that criticism changes people. It doesn’t. It does the exact opposite. As David Schwab said, “There is nothing else that kills the ambitions of a person like criticisms from superiors.”
John Wanamaker probably said it best, “It is foolish to scold.”
How To Criticize People Positively And Instill Desired Change
The last thing you want to do is to make one look bad in front of others. Simply put, we all loathe being put to shame. We all want to be portrayed in a good light. When you criticize privately, you will have saved the face of the other person. They will acknowledge that you put in the effort to call them aside and show them their fault. They will sincerely know they were wrong. They will not say that you only wanted to make fun of them. They will have very little to defend.
Begin With Sincere Praise And Honest Appreciation
First, compliment them on something good they have done previously and then proceed to the negative. This provides a better evaluation and will prompt the other person to analyze themselves. They will want to better the negative and turn it into a positive. They will want to get more positive compliments.
The Third Law: Arouse in Others An Eager You Want
The world is full of self-seeking people. We only think about ourselves. We only look after our interests.
People also have a lens through which they look at themselves. There are universal qualities of people’s opinions. We tend to have these opinions of ourselves.
That we are autonomous– we act on our own free will. As a result, we all want to make choices freely. We do not want to be coerced or manipulated. And when it happens we tend to be defensive. We always want to feel independent. We want to change ourselves and not to be changed by others.
Always make people think that what they are doing is a result of their own free will.
When you are selling an idea or a decision to somebody, let it seem as if he came up with that decision himself. Always ask yourself, “How can I get others to perceive the favor that I want as something they strongly desire.”
That we are intelligent in our ways. When you are arguing with somebody and offer a contrary argument, you are indirectly implying that you know better than them. This is why they will always acquire their defensive position and defend their stances.
You cannot win an argument. In nearly all arguments, both parties end up convinced they were right. People don’t want to be under the impression that they are less intelligent. *Even when you come up with straight-up facts and statistics or even an ocean of evidence and destroy your counterpart. He has lost and you have won. You have impaired his self-esteem. You have hurt his pride. You won the argument but you lost a friend’s goodwill. You won a battle but lost the war.
Our arguments are always right, but when it comes to changing someone’s mind, you cannot make them swallow their ego just like that. As the saying goes, the doors of change can only be opened from the inside. The only way to win an argument is to avoid it.
That we are good and decent. Just look at social media and you will see how people want to show that they have impacted other people’s lives. We all want others to believe that we do not only think about ourselves.
Why You Should Always Put Yourself Last When Dealing With People
It’s time we realize that talking about ourselves is childish. No one wants to listen to that crap. It’s like that one song in your playlist that you always skip. When it plays, you jump to press next. Similarly, when you prioritize your interests, other people switch off.
We are all interested in ourselves. It’s the sweet poison we cannot spit. If you want to succeed at influencing people, always put yourself last. First, consider the other person who wants to take care of his interests.
Try To Honestly See Things As They Are From The Other Person’s Point Of View
This is the path to being a genius in human relations. In the words of Dale Carnegie,
“If there is any one secret to success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as your own.”
If your only understand this rule and apply it in your daily life. You will be a people’s magnet.
There is no other greater feeling than feeling that someone understands why we are doing something or why behaved in a certain way. We all dread being judged. In a world where everyone is thinking about themselves, thinking about others will do you the world of no good.
Owen D. Young put it best,
“People who can put themselves in the place of other people, who can understand the workings of their minds, need never to worry about what the future has in store for them.”
We all hunger for sympathy. Give it to people and you will be loved.
When complaining that food got overcooked, first appreciate the person who cooked it for his effort. Tell him that you understand that sometimes mistakes happen. Then bring in your issue and ask them to cook another meal.
When writing that apology email to your supervisor for being late, don’t start with yourself. Don’t start saying why you were late. Start by acknowledging the problems you caused them. Say your lateness derailed the completion of a very important project. Say that you understand how much they value their time and then say why you were late.
When it Comes To Conversations Or Negotiations
Negotiations are the building blocks of healthy or poor relationships. Your quality of negotiations is directly proportional to the quality of your relationships.
We are always negotiating. With our spouses, children, parents, neighbors, and bosses.
Create The Illusion Of Control
In a successful negotiation, get the other party to do the work for you and suggest the solution yourself. Let them think they are in control. Let them do much of the talking while you do more of the listening. In any conversation, the one who is doing much of the listening is the one in control.
In the words of Chris Voss,
“once you figure out where you want the conversation to go, you have to design the questions that will ease the conversation in that direction while letting the other guy think it’s his choice to take you there.”Chris Voss
The Last Nail
In as much as we all self-seeking, if we desire to influence others, we need to stop the focus on ourselves and focus on others. We need to stop focusing on our interests and focus on their interests. Make sure people come out of conversations with you feeling better about themselves. Normalize talking less and listening more. Let people talk about themselves. They love it. Just like you do. You have to help other people steal the show. It’s the only way to influence people.