Hi, I’m Kurt and I’m a recovering Dale Carnegie reader.
Ok….ok…hold off your hate mail. Dale Carnegie’s books aren’t completely worthless. They are also great for recycling material or fire kindling.
I remember my early days of college when I was determined to figure out the world and how people worked. An early mentor of mine recommended How to Win Friends & Influence People. I read it. I loved it. I even read each chapter twice like it says to do in the preface. I tried applying the techniques and found many quite useful. A few years later I read Crucial Confrontations and realized that Brother Carnegie was more of a manipulation artist and not a communication artist.
Dale Carnegie’s methods have been around a long time and are imprinted deep in the minds of leaders. We just talked about the importance of holding regular PPI interviews with all those that “report” to you. So let’s take a moment and talk about bad communication habits when confronting someone you lead.
STOP MAKING SANDWICHES
You know the ol’ trick…say one nice thing…then squeeze in your criticism….then say one nice thing on the other end to complete the sandwich.
Wow, Sister Chikflik, you sure know how to engage the class during your lessons…Can I suggest your clip from The Notebook during Relief Society was a little inappropriate?…by the way, CUTE DRESS!!!
This might feel like you are delivering the blow a little softer but you aren’t. They feel caught off guard and maybe less willing to talk about it.
STOP WITH THE NON-VERBAL CUES AND SUBTLE INNUENDOS
Writing the disappointing home teaching percentage on the board and then giving everyone the death stare isn’t going to inspire them to run out and home teach. Or constantly reminding them when the “end of the month” will arrive isn’t helping either. Most people appreciate someone who is upfront and direct about an issue.
STOP TRYING TO FIX THROUGH SARCASM
Saying things in a joking manner isn’t lightening the blow either.
I’m beginning to think that I should just invite all your home teaching families to the church Thursday night while you play basketball. You never seem to miss THAT appointment. HAHAHAHA….just kidding (pat on the back).
More often than not they are wondering if you are just joking or trying to tell them something. Pull them into the next room and talk about it directly — and save the jokes for priesthood opening exercises.
STOP WITH THE GOOD COP, BAD COP
If it were my choice I’d love to have fruit snacks and soda on the stand with us. But I talked with President Meanypants and he says no food for the bishopric while in sacrament meeting.
Passing the buck to someone else doesn’t build respect. They see right through it and simply think you are hiding behind someone else.
These are simply a few bad communication habits. I agree that the examples above are a bit extreme and simply humorous but start listening to yourself when you have to approach someone about a problem. You may naturally build a “sandwich” without even realizing it or joke about the problem to soften the mood.
For those members of the I Love Dale Carnegie fan club please know that all his material isn’t bad. He taught many solid techniques and skills that help leaders deal with people. It seems the good techniques never get used enough; which puts more focus on the bad techniques that are used way too much.
To learn more about how to master the skills of confronting those you lead when expectations are violated check out Crucial Confrontations. Seriously, if you haven’t read this book yet you are missing out.