Winning human heart!
Chapter 25: Suggestions instead of commands
I once had lunch with Miss Ida Tarbell, an author
who specializes in biographies of famous people in America.
While discussing the topic of how to be nice to people,
she tells the story of Owen D. Young,
the character in the biography she is writing.
One of Young’s employees told Ida
that in the three years he worked with Mr. Young,
he had never heard him give direct orders
to anyone but only give suggestions.
For example, Owen D. Young never said “Do this” or “Don’t do that”.
But he often used phrases like:
“Perhaps you’ll want to reconsider this”
or “Do you think that would work?”.
He often asked the secretary
after reading a typed letter:
“What do you think?”
or “Perhaps it would be better for us to write this way.”
He always gives others the opportunity
to improve his work ability
and learn from his mistakes.
Such a way of speaking makes employees feel cared for and respected,
which in turn leads to easier admitting mistakes and active cooperation.
Even with the right intentions,
a harsh order can cause lingering resentment.
Dan Santarelli, a teacher at a vocational school in Wyoming, Pennsylvania,
said that once a student parked his car blocking the entrance to a school classroom.
A teacher burst into the classroom and angrily asked,
“Whose car is blocking the passage?”
When the owner of that car responded,
the teacher shouted:
“Take it away,
or I will have a chain link to drag it to the landfill immediately!”.
Of course, the other student knew he was wrong
because he wasn’t allowed to park there.
But from that day on,
not only the other student was dissatisfied
with the teacher’s actions,
but all the students in the class also felt dissatisfied
and no longer wanted to cooperate.
If the teacher asked informally,
“Whose car is that in the aisle?”
then suggested that if the car was parked somewhere else it would be easier
for school vehicles to get in
and out of course the student would be happy to move the car,
and neither he nor the class would have to upset and upset.
That teacher didn’t understand
that gentle words were a thousand times more powerful
than shouting commands.
Giving orders by asking questions allows the receiver
to make decisions together.
And once they participate in the decision-making,
they will actively implement that decision in the most creative and positive way.
Ian Mac Donald of Johannesburg,
the manager of a small factory specializing
in the production of mechanical parts,
had the opportunity to take on a very large order.
However, he hesitated to accept it
because he was worried that he could not be able
to complete the contract on time.
So he gathered all the workers,
explained the current situation clearly to them,
and honestly acknowledged how important this order was
to the company as well as to them.
Then he asked the following questions:
– What do we need to do to process this order?
– Who has any initiative to increase productivity
to be able to implement this contract?
– Is there a way to make use of working hours
and division of labor more efficiently and effectively?
The staff actively voiced their opinions
and showed determination to take the order.
So it was they who decided to accept the contract,
they themselves decided how to do it
and they completed the contract.
Assuming, Ian did the opposite,
just used to order the workers to work day
and night according to his subjective will,
but regardless of the workers’ reactions,
he would probably never get what he wanted. .
“Try not to hurt people, even if it’s just a joke” – Publilius Syrus
Principle 25: Suggest, instead of command