Usable Insight – New Year’s Resolutions – 20 Ways to Win Friends and Influence People at Work

If you want to really win friends and influence people at work:

  1. Be on time and prepared for meetings. That alone will make you shine like a star.
  2. Turn in work ahead of schedule. Forget procrastination, get things done early.
  3. Turn in work error free. I need to practice this one if you haven’t noticed that my columns invariably have some typo or grammatical errors.
  4. Return email and voice mail the same business day (if only to acknowledge receipt of it with a message telling them when you’ll get back to them). Realize that even though many people procrastinate sending you a message, human nature is that they will often expect you to respond immediately.
  5. Follow up with people, even if you have to do it more than once. Don’t just stop and think, “Well I called them back so I’m off the hook.” If they don’t get back to you, it’s not personal. Everyone is overloaded.
  6. Never bring up a problem without coming up with a solution. And make it one that will make sense, feel right and be doable in your company’s corporate culture to your boss.
  7. Never lie. People will forgive an honest mistake, but they won’t forgive or forget if you lie.
  8. Sincerely congratulate others on their success. It is one of the best ways to counteract the jealousy and envy that can kill you.
  9. Express compassion. Tell people you’re sorry when bad things happen to them. This is not to be confused with the empty, “I’m sorry,” excuse that you say after you mess up to try to get out of some punishment.
  10. Smile more than you frown. Research shows you can’t hold a smile for more than ten seconds and be angry at the same time.
  11. Be easier to please than you are to upset. Don’t be high maintenance.
  12. Do what you say you’ll do, when you say you’ll do it. Follow through means never having to say you’re sorry.
  13. If you have a w-h-i-n-i-n-g voice (ask your friends), stop it. Nails on a chalkboard do not win friends or influence anyone.
  14. If you have a strident voice (ask your friends), stop it. More chalk.
  15. If you pout, stop it.
  16. If you act sullen, stop it.
  17. If you blame others, stop it.
  18. If you make other people wrong, stop it.
  19. If you make excuses, stop it.
  20. If you cry too easily, stop it.
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47 Responses to “Usable Insight – New Year’s Resolutions – 20 Ways to Win Friends and Influence People at Work”

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  4. Wayne Hall Says:

    Nice list.

    I have been looking at better decision making and what many of the smart people are saying about how we are not so good at it. That led me to looking at our human network and how information flows through it, or sometimes does not.

    After looking through many books on communications I found your book “Just Listen”, and have recommended it to many in my personal network. Thank you!

    You may be interested in the book “Tribal Leadership”. In it he classifies group communication into 5 levels from “Life Sucks” to “Life is Great”. To me your work commpliments his quite nicely.

    I am worried about number 6 on your list. My fear is this may lead to inportant information not flowing where it needs to.

  5. Jessica Says:

    This is fantastic. Simple, straightforward suggestions that make a real difference. Numbers 1 – 5 are particularly important in business situations, and they’re things that are easy to do but equally easy to write off as though they didn’t matter. While they may not “matter” in the sense that the ultimate outcome may be the same, but they certainly impact others’ perception of the situation.

    I think with number 6 it’s equally important to add the addendum, “even if the solution does not work or is not perfect.” Even if another solution needs to be determined, simply offering a suggestion shows that you have put thought into the situation and view it as being hopeful.

    A correlary of #7 is “own your mistakes.” I have often found that if I acknowledge when I have made a mistake or my performance is falling at work, my boss feels relieved because I have taken the burden of pointing out the situation to me and she immediately knows that I understand the gap between what I have accomplished and what is expected of me.

    The rest are more subtle changes, but certainly ones that would have a large impact one’s relationships and others’ perception of you.


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