Dale Carnegie’s self-help classic How to Win Friends & Influence People is one of the most iconic personal development books there is. It is a must read for anyone who wants to get ahead in their careers. It is no surprise to me that even the likes of Warren Buffett speak highly on the author and his work. The reason for this is quite simple, if you want to get ahead and create something amazing, become a leader, or build a business, you need to be able to build effective working relationships. This book is a must have companion to help you master building successful two-way working relationships. But what specifically does the book teach us?

Rewarding good behaviour is more effective than punishing bad behaviour

There is a long-held principle that many psychologists have known for a long time. This is that animals rewarded for good behaviour will learn more effectively than those punished for bad behaviour. The same is true of people. If you criticise someone for doing something, their instinct is naturally to defend and justify rather than to listen to the criticism. However, if you praise them for doing something, they will likely continue doing it. Positive reinforcement is a great tool to promote the right kind of behaviours from those around you.

Others wont help if you are unappreciative

Think about this logically who would you rather help? Person A who is always ungrateful, never bothers to say thank you and who is often rude to you. Person B who always goes out of their way to ask how you and your family are, compliments you and has helped you out before. The answer is of course option B. At some point in your life, you are going to need the help of other people. In order for them to actually help, you have to be the kind of person they want to help. Make sure you are Person B and not Person A. But do it authentically, no one likes a phoney.

What is in it for them?

Do you like chocolate? Or wine? How about a nice pair of shoes? But if you were going fishing would you put any of them on the end of your fishing hook to try and catch fish? Of course not. Its amazing how many people do the equivalent of this though when it comes to personal and professional relationships. In order to attract the other party, you have to first know what it is they like. This is true whether fishing, selling a product, working with someone or a personal relationship. You have to take the time to first understand what motivates and interests the other person. If you do not know this, then you are unable to interact with them effectively to get the required outcome. Teddy Roosevelt used to go to great lengths to do this even though he was President. He knew that if he understood the other persons wants and desires, he could devise a win-win solution without needing to rely on his authority to just demand. A mutually beneficial relationship is the only way to thrive over the long term.

Admit when you are wrong

Let’s be honest, we are all wrong at times. Now think about the people you know in your life. We all know at least one person that refuses to admit when they are wrong. It may be a friend or family member. It might be an old or current boss. It might be a politician of note. Do they inspire you with trust? Would you want to collaborate with them? Would you want to have a long-term relationship with them? Now think of those who you do trust. Do they try to cover their tracks or are they open and transparent? Do they admit when they are wrong or that things have not gone to plan. So when you are wrong. You know what to do. Admit it.