How to Win Friends and Influence People
Dale Carnegie
Contributed by Jack Shields
Chapter 4

Exercising leadership is critical in helping an individual to win friends as well as impacting other people. The possession of leadership skills will not only allow one to know what to do but also how to do them. Leadership, Carnegie says, will enable an individual to understand how to correct other people. Carnegie says that when trying to correct other people, "begin with praise and honest appreciation.” Showing leadership means understanding the right techniques to use in every situation. Before criticizing somebody, it is first essential to appreciate the individuals for the job that they have done before poking holes at the arguments or performances. In this way, no person will feel offended by the corrections.

Calling attention to other people’s mistakes indirectly is an effective way of pointing to others where they are wrong without attracting hatred. Undeniably, many people feel offended when the question of their character, performance, personality or speech is called to question. However, the offense usually arises when wring approach is utilized in making the corrections. However, in circumstances where the correct approaches are used in making people aware of their mistakes, it is possible that they will receive the message without taking offense. The best way to do this is to use indirect ways to make people aware of the mistakes that they have made. Without forgetting, criticizing other people is undesirable and should be avoided where necessary.

Additionally, when there is need to correct other people, leaders need first admit their mistakes before attempting to correct other people. When a leader openly appreciates his mistakes, it would serve as an example to other people that accepting errors is not a weakness but a strength. In any organization, junior employees usually look up to their superiors for guidance. In every respect, the junior employees expect the superiors to chart the way concerning standards of behavior. Before a leader seeks to correct other people, they must first appreciate the mistakes that they have made and publicly offer an apology.

Issuing orders does not usually work with many people. While individuals in positions of power in organizations may want to issue orders as a demonstration of their authority, Carnegie has indicated that the most effective way of making this achievement is to use questions rather than issue orders. The primary reason for this approach is that many people misconstrue the issuance of orders as an unnecessary show of power, authoritarianism, and influence. Thus, in most cases, rebellion may arise against leaders almost always resort to the use of orders. To remedy the situation, Carnegie says that leaders need to replace orders with a question-like approach to the issuance of instructions.


“Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise" for that is the hallmark of leadership. When a person makes a positive step towards the realization of the goals, even when the target is still far away, it is prudent to offer praise as a form of recognition for the development. It is only in this way that individual s will realize that an institution recognizes their efforts. Some leaders fail to appreciate the efforts that employees have made. It is not possible to influence employees if that is the approach that the management has adopted. Showing leadership is a critical way of having maximum impact on other people. While people are always prone to make mistakes in institutions, direct criticism is not the best way to change performance. The art of dealing with people dictates that it is much more beneficial to use indirect means to correct others than to criticize, give orders and quarrel with others.

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