Effective praise can be given using these three methods:

  1. Defining your intention and providing praise. This involves being mindful of the consequences of your words.
  2. Instead of plain flattery, try to encourage them to move forward and take up further challenges. This also encourages them to keep learning.
  3. Focus the praise on their effort, not their ability. If the trait is not fixed, the person cannot be vain about it. By praising efforts, we are motivating them to push further and get out of their comfort zone.
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The Praise Paradox
  • Defining Praise requires two different components: What is being praised and the amount of praise.
  • Talent and abilities can be praised, and the degree of praise is based on the language used.
  • Inflated or exaggerated praise can backfire, lowering a young person’s motivation or self-worth when there are eventual setbacks.
  • It fosters a fixed mindset by adding pressure on the person(who is praised) to behave accordingly.

Engaging in a rational debate is useless when the detractor isn’t really a fan and harbours a grievance already.

  • One has to avoid jumping into a debate with this kind of person and focus on learning about them and building rapport.
  • Slowly understand their perspective and try to convert them into your champion or advocate, by becoming their fan.
  • Let the relationship take care of the decision.

The Flip Side: One cannot rely on building a relationship to convince others if the decision does not have merit.

When the opposition is logical and the detractor has many rational and practical counterarguments, one has to go for a cognitive conversation.

  • One needs sound, logical arguments while making a good presentation, just like a lawyer.
  • One has to set aside any emotion and use pure reasoning.
  • It helps to make the other person believe that both parties are on common ground.

The Flip Side: Don’t expect long-term conversion or everlasting support.

Changing People's Minds

Leadership, by its very nature, involves walking the tightrope, trying to navigate the complex relationships we have with our clients, colleagues and bosses.

Business decisions made by leaders often require buy-in from people who do not think as we do, and are not our natural supporters. There are certain persuasion strategies we can use to overcome this challenge.

The detractor can be wholeheartedly opposed to your proposal, even believing that it may cause harm. This makes it impossible for them to agree with you.

  • One can try to break the ice in this situation by bringing in a credible colleague, preferably a supervisor or manager.
  • This can tilt the scale in your favour and help you open up the deadlock.
  • You can then push your proposal up for approval, provided you can convince the external supporter.

The Flip Side: If the detractor feels the decision has been imposed on them by tact or authority, they may feel cheated.

Three basic strategies have been devised after studying 60 business leaders handling a variety of disagreements at the workplace:

  1. Cognitive Conversation Approach: Best for convincing those focused on the rational reasons for taking a decision.
  2. Champion Conversation Approach: Used for convincing colleagues with whom we are not cordial.
  3. Credible Colleague Approach: Best for convincing someone who already thinks we are unlikely to be successful by ourselves.
The Simple Recipe To Being a Nice and Likeable Person
  1. When meeting people for the first time or even talking to an acquaintance, it is important to be genuinely interested in others.
  2. The ability to accept them for who they are as a person, regardless of their flaws.

Being witty, well-read, and attractive can help make a good impression but it won't matter unless the two rules above are also applied. 

Common Errors While In The Company of Others
  1. Talking about yourself too much.
  2. Asking questions only for the sake of discovering secrets and expose someone else's mistakes.
  3. Telling a scripted story and being oblivious to the fact that other people don't care or being aware that others don't care, but still continues to tell the story.
  4. Seeing a conversation as a possible chance to debate or fight. It makes other people walk on eggshells in order to avoid disputes.
  5. Mocking someone for their misfortunes, defects, and deformities of any kind.

Stories can be misleading despite providing information.

  • Some stories can feature a combination of warning signs. The more warning signs a story shows, the more scepticism is needed.
  • Time-related biases and selection problems can happen even when every other part of the story is correct.

The solution isn't to stop telling stories as they provide vital benefits. But astute decision-makers can take convincing narratives as theories to be scrutinized, rather than absolute truths.

Stories based on the past can become outdated when situations change suddenly and drastically. Traditions built on them often persists long after.

  • A few decades ago, a college degree would almost certainly guarantee a lucrative career. This is no longer true, but the idea is causing a growing student debt crisis.
  • Companies that seem invincible can quickly come to a fall, especially when processes grow non-linearly while competent decision-makers fail to notice, as with Myspace and Nokia.

Personal experience and notable events may be appealing but often tend to be unrepresentative.

In reality, the more unique the observation, the less likely it is to generalise. When dealing with complex decisions, many organisations now favour data-based algorithms over experience-based narratives.

While success stories are motivating, they could lead to a false belief that success is more controllable and predictable than it is.

  • The common traits of successful people and organisations are ubiquitous. These same traits may be equally present in the less successful.
  • Stories that emphasise how talented and hardworking the successful are ignores scores of failures with similar skills and work ethics. The success could be due to circumstantial and random reasons.
Stories are powerful tools

The ability to create stories helps people to cooperate and move forward. Stories have multiple advantages: They allow us to discern complex situations, remember ideas, communicate with others, and make predictions about the future.

It is vital for managers and entrepreneurs to use these benefits and improve their storytelling skills. But stories can also be misleading. It is crucial to recognise the different ways stories can deceive you.

Some stories fail to see the existing relationship when causes and effects are separated by time. Stories can misinterpret investments that feature worse-before-better dynamics.

New leaders may receive acclaim or blame for results that happen right after their appointment even though it may be due to the previous administrations.

Stories often focus on the outcomes that can be seen while ignoring the underlying processes.

  • This leads to widespread blindness to possible deceptive behaviours that contributed to the outcomes. Examples include Ponzi schemes and fraudulent business practices.
  • It leads to a misunderstanding of how innovation works. Focusing on the individuals' creativity glorifies the final version while ignoring the underlying collaborative processes by risk-taking entrepreneurs.

Listening to captivating stories can lead to biased evaluations and irreversible mistakes in business.

When it comes to dealing with critical problems, it is useful to become a story sceptic.

A narrative created after a specific result often downplays alternative scenarios that could have happened, making success and failure seem more predictable than they are.

Outcomes that seem obvious in hindsight are often unknown at the time of the decision, such as the modern PC, Google, or Harry Potter, that expert investors initially rejected. Often, not even the owners can accurately predict their own potential.

Stories can suggest a causal link when the link doesn't exist. For example, urban legends like the Sports Illustrated magazine state that individuals or teams who appear on the cover will subsequently experience bad luck.

Similarly, managers can form faulty beliefs about the effects of praise and punishment, especially when the performers they praise go on to perform worse and those they punish afterwards improve.

Data-based analyses are often turned into a story for easier understanding and adoption. But the stories are limiting the discussion to the average statistical effects.

Stories based on the average are often only valid for the average of the samples and might hide significant risks and nuances around an expected outcome.

Increasing your voice creates stress and tension that often escalates into an argument or physical confrontation.

Yelling is a method used to control a situation by dominating the other person. When we get loud, the other person is forced into submission. In turn, it tells them to comply, or there will be punishing consequences.

Listening rarely happens during a submissive state. Instead, the listener is waiting for a pause to interject a rebuttal to defend against a verbal attack.

Once we know how shouting is perceived, we must be careful to regulate our voice to a volume and tone that does not come over as aggressive or dominant.

Raising your voice

Most of the meaning of your spoken words comes from the tone of your voice, not from the words.

Suppose you are the type of person who automatically raises your voice to become the dominant speaker. In that case, you may be damaging your ability to be a better communicator and secure cooperation.

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