These holidays I have set my self the goal of blogging at least weekly about some wider learning and reading that I have finally got the time to do!
Last week, as I traipsed through my digital newsletter and magazine subscriptions, I came across this Life Hack article titled 15 Best Leadership Books Every Young Leader Needs to Read.
Now, whether a teacher is looking at a career pathway that moves towards leadership or not, I strongly believe that as teachers we have the inherent responsibility to be leaders in our school and wider communities. So, this list grabbed my attention and I started going through the list deciding which titles seemed most relevant to my context, and then seeking them out on iBooks.
The first two books I decided to take a look at were Dale Carnegie’s ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ and Stephen R. Covey’s ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.’ More on the latter another time…this week I began with Carnegie’s book.
Originally published in 1936, the title of the American author and lecturer’s book makes me cringe a little. But once I got myself beyond that stigma, the majority of the book was fairly sound. There are a number of editions, but the one going for $0.99 on iBooks consists of six parts:
1. Fundamental Techniques in Handling People
2. Ways to Make People Like You
3. How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking
4. Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment
5. Letters that Produced Miraculous Results
6. Seven Rules for Making Your Home Life Happier.
Whilst appreciating the generosity with which Carnegie gives out advice, the book did become quite repetitive. Each section is split into chapters that explain a main principle of working with and leading people. Many of these are highly applicable in the classroom and when working with colleagues in education. They are, essentially, about building effective relationships and could act as a handbook for new and continuing teachers alike.
Below are the principles from the first four parts of Carnegie’s book, with a brief comment on how the first two sections might relate to the classroom or teachers’ office. This will be followed by a summary of Parts Three and Four.
PART ONE: FUNDAMENTAL TECHNIQUES IN HANDLING PEOPLE
“Principle One – Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.” We need to consider how we communicate to our students, parents and colleagues when we believe a situation is less than satisfactory.
“Principle Two – Give honest and sincere appreciation.” I see this in the sense of the way we give feedback on work, but also the way that we acknowledge positive behaviour and choices rather than focusing on the negative.
“Principle Three – Arouse in the other person an eager want.” How do we engage students so that they want to learn and participate in the classroom?
PART TWO: WAYS TO MAKE PEOPLE LIKE YOU
(N.B. In the educational sense, I see this more as ‘Ways to Engage Positively With Others’ rather than making them like me)
“Principle One – Become genuinely interested in other people.” Listen to students and colleagues. Get to know their interests and talents.
“Principle Two – Smile.” The old “don’t smile before Easter” just doesn’t make sense. Be firm, of course, but students are allowed to see that we are human and we need to make them feel welcome!
“Principle Three – Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” In other words, learn your students’ names. ASAP. This acts as a behaviour management technique on top of being just a common courtesy.
“Principle Four – Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.” (See Principle One.)
“Principle Five – Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.” How does what you would like to see happen fit with what the other person is interested in? They are more likely to do it if it addresses their interests!
“Principle 6 – Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.” Make sure students and colleagues know they matter, absolutely. To be honest, without them you probably wouldn’t be there either!
PART THREE: HOW TO WIN PEOPLE TO YOUR WAY OF THINKING
“Principle One – The only way to get the best out of an argument is to avoid it.”
“Principle Two – Show Respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say, “You’re wrong.””
“Principle Three – If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.”
“Principle Four – Begin in a friendly way.”
“Principle Five – Get the other person saying “yes, yes” immediately.”
“Principle Six – Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.”
“Principle Seven – Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.”
“Principle Eight – Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.”
“Principle Nine – Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.”
“Principle Ten – Appeal to the nobler motives.”
“Principle Eleven – Dramatise your ideas.”
“Principle Twelve – Throw down a challenge.”
PART FOUR: HOW TO CHANGE PEOPLE WITHOUT GIVING OFFENSE OR AROUSING RESENTMENT
“Principle One – Begin with praise and honest appreciation.”
“Principle Two – Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.”
“Principle Three – Talk about your own mistakes before criticising the other person.”
“Principle Four – Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.”
“Principle Five – Let the other person save face.”
“Principle Six – Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be heart in you appreciation and lavish in your praise.”
“Principle Seven – Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.”
“Principle Eight – Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.”
“Principle Nine – Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.”