Monday, May 26, 2008

Don't criticize, condemn or complain.

I have started reading what has to be one of the oldest, most respected self-help books in the world, it was handed out to a few people at work by one of my co-workers.

How to Win Friends and Influence People was written in 1936 by Dale Carnegie, the book has more then 15 million copies in print, and has been on the bestsellers lists for years.

The first chapter talks about the first of three fundamental techniques for dealing with people, that being "Don't criticize, condemn or complain.".

I started to think about what this means, and how I can apply this to my work. I realized that it is very easy to criticize, or condemn, or complain. I mean really, its almost second nature to do all these things.

Just this morning, as I made my coffee, I felt the first criticisms of the morning brewing in my head. The cause? Once again, people in the office haven't put their dishes in the dishwasher.

I started to reach for my Blackberry, to take a picture of the mess, and post a nastygram on Confluence to express my annoyances and disgust. Instead, I stopped. I thought to myself, forget about it, what will this change? Nothing. It will only make people defensive, and provide excuses.

Instead, I decided to finish making my coffee, then resolved to do the dishes before heading back to my cubicle. Before I finished making my coffee, the resident office DJ walked into the kitchen, without a word, he filled the dishwasher and ran it. Just like that.

So instead of criticizing, I posted kudos on Confluence. Maybe sugar will inspire the desired behaviour instead of all that vinegar.

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