Monday, September 30, 2019

Book Review: The Leader In You (1993) by Dale Carnegie

The Leader In You: How to Win Friends, Influence People and Success In a Changing World (1993) by Dale Carnegie & Associates, Inc. with Stuart R. Levine & Michael A. Crom

If you already read Dale Carnegie's masterwork How to Win Friends and Influence People (originally published in 1936), you'll find that this book is repetitive only with clearer examples, simpler chapters and modern touch. If you just read How to Win Friends and Influence People say, about less than 6 months ago, I think you don't have to read this one. But for me, the last time I read Dale Carnegie's book (including How to Stop Worrying and Start Living) was about 3-4 years ago, so this is a good refresher for me because I forget some of the key lessons that he taught. Reading The Leader In You is fun and beneficial for me because this year my focus is on leadership, one of my subject of interests. Although I've read dozens of leadership books, I still can learn greatly from this one. As Dale Carnegie writes, "Keep your mind open to change all the time. Welcome it. Court it. It is only by examining and re-examining your opinions and ideas that you can progress." How true.

This book is published by Pocket Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. and as expected, it is pocket-size, only 230+ pages and 16 short chapters with Carnegie's quote at the beginning and a key lesson for each leadership principles. Dale Carnegie begins the introduction of The Leader In You by explaining that as the 21st-century approaches, the world is undergoing enormous change, and so "the human-relations revolution," a cultural change is here where "a whole new breed of leaders" is required. What the world needs is not hierarchical and bossy ways of leadership, today all the more, we need leaders who mastered the human-relations principles. "What needed is leadership, to help people achieve what they are capable of, to establish a vision of the future, to encourage, to coach and mentor, and to establish and maintain successful relationships."

Let me highlight briefly 5 Human-Relations-Leadership Principles (there are 16) with my favourite quotes:

#1 Finding the Leader In You. "Leadership is never easy. But thankfully, something else is also true: Every one of us has the potential to be a leader every day." Key lesson: The first step toward success is identifying your leadership strengths.

#2 Starting to Communicate. Here are the first steps to successful communication: 1) Make communication a top priority; 2) Be open to other people, and 3) Create a receptive environment for communication. Key lesson: Communication is built on a trusting relationship.

#3 Motivating People. Three important ways to do this: 1) Include others in the process, every step of the way; 2) Treat people as individuals; and 3) Encouraged, recognized and rewarded works well done. Key lesson: Motivation can never be forced. People have to want to do a good job.

#4 Expressing Genuine Interest In Others. "Expressing genuine interest in others – there's no better way to make people interested in you. People respond to people who are sincerely interested in them. They can't help but respond." "Even more important than expressing interest is showing it." Key lesson: There's nothing more effective and rewarding than showing a genuine interest in other people.

#5 Teaming Up for Tomorrow. "The greatest reward a leader can achieve – the greatest legacy a leader can leave – is a group of talented, self-confident, and cooperative people, how are themselves ready to lead." Wow! Key lesson: Team players are the leaders of tomorrow.

These 5 and the other 11 principles outlined in this book is timeless. Since the world today is getting more and more virtual, the need for leaders of today (and tomorrow) to be relational is all the more important. I'm aspiring to be a better leader, I teach leadership lessons in churches and organized seminars twice per year. But based on my personality, relationships are not my strength. I have to work hard and intentional to strengthen my human-relations skills. Why? Because leaders lead PEOPLE. People are the reason leaders exist. Therefore, this book is valuable to me. I recommend this book wholeheartedly. As a closing, I would like to also recommend John C. Maxwell's two books on leadership-relationship: 1) Winning with People (2004) and 2) 25 Ways to Win with People (2005, with Les Parrott). These two books are what I called The New How to Win Friends and Leading People.


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