“The ability to deal with people is as purchasable of a commodity as sugar or coffee…and I will pay more for that commodity”  – John D. Rockefeller

And he was pretty damn rich so we might want to pay a little attention.   In the world renown book “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, Dale Carnegie goes into great detail of how you are probably doing this wrong?

I don’t know, maybe you have already figured it all out my bright reader, though many around us have not.   Today so many people in sales industries take pride if being “old school” and almost gush with joy when telling tales of how they can ride their employees asses.    I’m also confident that they are waaayyy more successful than Rockefeller, Charles Schwab, and Andrew Carnegie.

Oh, wait!!   yeah, umm, maybe we should check in with those people for their thoughts

In this classic book, Carnegie delivers some great wisdom for when working with human peoples.  Remember, people are not creatures of logic; we are dealing with creatures of emotion, motivated by pride and vanity.   So use it to your favor.  As much as we thirst for approval, we DREAD condemnation.  Researcher Skinner showed animals learn more rapidly when rewarded for good behavior than punished for bad.

Criticism is futile because it generally puts people on defensive.  Dangerous because it arouses sense of pride and raises resentment.  Does not make lasting changes.

The author stated “The deepest principal in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”  The craving to be appreciated.  The special individual who can handle peoples’ heart hunger will hold people in the palm of his hand and even the undertaker will sympathize.  This desire makes you want the biggest house, nicest car, smartest kid, most stylish clothes.  Can lure into gangs.  If you tell me where you get your feeling of importance, I’ll tell you who you are.  It speaks to character.  Confirmed by philosopher John Dewey: The deepest urge in human nature is the desire to be important.   Then Sigmund Freud: Man’s two greatest emotions – desire for sex and desire to be great.

Charles Schwab, first man to have $1 million salary at US Steel: “I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among my people to be the greatest asset I possess.  And the way to develop the best in a person is by appreciation and encouragement.  There is nothing else that so kills the ambition of a person as criticism from superiors.  I never criticize anyone.  I believe in giving a person incentive to work.  If I like anything, I am hearty in my approbation and lavish in my praise.”

—  Notice he said “arouse enthusiasm” not “fear”

Maybe today we take a long minute and think about how we communicate with our teammates, co-workers, and employees.   Are you as hearty with appreciation as you are with condemnation?   What is your ratio of “good job” to “constructive critcism/negative reinforcement/coaching”?   10/1?  5/1?  3/1?   oh no, not 1/1??!!

I’m not saying that there aren’t times when the stick is necessary.   I am saying that to make sure that the employees that you want around – presumably because they are doing a good job – get way more “good job” or “thank you.”    How much does a compliment cost?

Think of an employee that works for you for 25 years.   Pretty much always on time.  Does a good job.  Does their work or maybe a little more.  Gets 3 promotion in the first 15 years and is a good manager to employees who like him.   Now pretend that over the 25 years, life happens 3 times and notes/warning/write-ups go into his file.   That’s a good employee, right?  Someone you would want to have around.   If you do not put notes in his file of all of the good stuff they did, what would someone think of that employee 2 years after they left?   They would only see the bad.

Our brains work a similar way.   We are going to put a lot of weight on the negative criticism we receive from people we admire or respect.   Do you want to be admired and respected?  Or further, listened to?   The lead not manage.

What would happen if you changed things up and just poured on gratitude.   Give lots of praise for everything that you see done right.  In your office, in your home, in your business relationships.    My prediction is that you will see that the absence of praise will actually be more meaningful than repeated assaults.

Especially when you remember what Tony Robbins once taught: A proper thank you includes with word “because” – a great one includes the word “and”.

ps….. you are going to HAVE TO learn this to continue to lead in the future.   You have heard of the elusive “millennial worker”.   The one everyone is staring into the crystal ball to figure out.   THIS skill is going to be key for getting them to work well for you.  It’s not that they don’t want to work, they just don’t want to work for YOU.   Times are changing, grow up…..and grow.  Learn something new.

I read an article a couple of years ago that made a great point about how Millennials are misunderstood by older workers.   The author made a GREAT point.  She basically said “Remember that we are probably the first generation to see how happy our parents and grand parents are when they did all of the things they are ‘supposed to do’.   Get married, buy house, have kids, work a job to get a check.  And they are mostly miserable.   Look at the rates of divorce, alcoholism, depression, abuse.    Why would we want to rush off to repeat THAT.”

Be different – be better.  I know you can because you are smart, amazing, and will find ways to be the best you can.