《人性的弱点》第四篇 第1章 如果你必须批评，这是开始的方法
A friend of mine was a guest at the White House for aweekend during the administration of Calvin Coolidge.Drifting into the President’s private office, he heardCoolidge say to one of his secretaries, “That’s a prettydress you are wearing this morning, and you are a veryattractive young woman.”
That was probably the most effusive praise Silent Calhad ever bestowed upon a secretary in his life. It was sounusual, so unexpected, that the secretary blushed inconfusion. Then Coolidge said, “Now, don’t get stuckup. I just said that to make you feel good. From now on,I wish you would be a little bit more careful with yourPunctuation.”
His method was probably a bit obvious, but the psychologywas superb. It is always easier to listen to unpleasantthings after we have heard some praise of ourgood points.
A barber lathers a man before he shaves him; and thatis precisely what McKinley did back in 1896, when hewas running for President. One of the prominent Republicansof that day had written a campaign speech that hefelt was just a trifle better than Cicero and Patrick Henryand Daniel Webster all rolled into one. With great glee,this chap read his immortal speech aloud to McKinley.The speech had its fine points, but it just wouldn’t do. Itwould have raised a tornado of criticism. McKinleydidn’t want to hurt the man’s feelings. He must not killthe man’s splendid enthusiasm, and yet he had to say"no." Note how adroitly he did it.
"My friend, that is a splendid speech, a magnificentspeech,” McKinley said. “No one could have prepared abetter one. There are many occasions on which it wouldbe precisely the right thing to say, but is it quite suitableto this particular occasion? Sound and sober as it is fromyour standpoint, I must consider its effect from theparty’s standpoint. Now you go home and write a speechalong the lines I indicate, and send me a copy of it.”
He did just that. McKinley blue-penciled and helpedhim rewrite his second speech, and he became one ofthe effective speakers of the campaign.
Here is the second most famous letter that AbrahamLincoln ever wrote. (His most famous one was written toMrs. Bixby, expressing his sorrow for the death of thefive sons she had lost in battle.) Lincoln probably dashedthis letter off in five minutes; yet it sold at public auctionin 1926 for twelve thousand dollars, and that, by the way, was more money than Lincoln was able to saveduring half a century of hard work. The letter was writtento General Joseph Hooker on April 26, 1863, duringthe darkest period of the Civil War. For eighteenmonths, Lincoln’s generals had been leading the UnionArmy from one tragic defeat to another. Nothing but futile,stupid human butchery. The nation was appalled.Thousands of soldiers had deserted from the army, anden the Republican members of the Senate had revoltedand wanted to force Lincoln out of the White House.“We are now on the brink of destruction,” Lincolnsaid. It appears to me that even the Almighty isagainst us. I can hardly see a ray of hope.” Such was theblack sorrow and chaos out of which this lettercame.
I am printing the letter here because it shows howLincoln tried to change an obstreperous general whenthe very fate of the nation could have depended uponthe general’s action.
This is perhaps the sharpest letter Abe Lincoln wroteafter he became President; yet you will note that hepraised General Hooker before he spoke of his gravefaults.
Yes, they were grave faults, but Lincoln didn’t callthem that. Lincoln was more conservative, more diplomatic.Lincoln wrote: “There are some things in regardto which I am not quite satisfied with you.” Talk abouttact! And diplomacy!
Here is the letter addressed to General Hooker:
I have placed you at the head of the Army of the Potomac.Of course, I have done this upon what appears to me to besufficient reasons, and yet I think it best for you to knowthat there are some things in regard to which I am not quitesatisfied with you.
I believe you to be a brave and skillful soldier, which, ofcourse, I like. I also believe you do not mix politics withyour profession, in which you are right. You have confidencein yourself, which is a valuable if not an indispensablequality.
You are ambitious, which, within reasonable bounds,does good rather than harm, But I think that during GeneralBurnside’s command of the army you have taken counsel ofyour ambition and thwarted him as much as you could, inwhich you did a great wrong to the country and to a mostmeritorious and honorable brother officer.
I have heard, in such a way as to believe it, of your recentlysaying that both the army and the Governmentneeded a dictator. Of course, it was not for this, but in spiteof it, that I have given you command.
Only those generals who gain successes can set up asdictators. What I now ask of you is military success and Iwill risk the dictatorship.
The Government will support you to the utmost of itsability, which is neither more nor less than it has done andwill do for all commanders. I much fear that the spirit whichyou have aided to infuse into the army, of criticizing theircommander and withholding confidence from him, willnow turn upon you. I shall assist you, as far as I can, to putit down.
Neither you nor Napoleon, if he were alive again, couldget any good out of an army while such spirit prevails in it,and now beware of rashness. Beware of rashness, but withenergy and sleepless vigilance go forward and give us victories.
You are not a Coolidge, a McKinley or a Lincoln. Youwant to know whether this philosophy will operate foryou in everyday business contacts. Will it? Let’s see.Let’s take the case of W. P. Gaw of the Wark Company,Philadelphia.
The Wark Company had contracted to build and completea large office building in Philadelphia by a certainspecified date. Everything was going along well; thebuilding was almost finished, when suddenly the sub-contractormaking the ornamental bronze work to go onthe exterior of this building declared that he couldn’tmake delivery on schedule. What! An entire buildingheld up! Heavy penalties! Distressing losses! All becauseof one man!
Long-distance telephone calls. Arguments! Heated
conversations! All in vain. Then Mr. Gaw was sent toNew York to beard the bronze lion in his den.
“Do you know you are the only person in Brooklynwith your name,?" Mr Gaw asked the president of thesubcontracting firm shortly after they were introduced.The president was surprised. “No, I didn’t knowthat.”
“Well,” said Mr. Gaw, “when I got off the train thismorning, I looked in the telephone book to get youraddress, and you’re the only person in the Brooklynphone book with your name.”
“I never knew that,” the subcontractor said. Hechecked the phone book with interest. “Well, it’s an unusualname,” he said proudly. "My family came fromHolland and settled in New York almost two hundredyears ago. " He continued to talk about his family and hisancestors for several minutes. When he finished that,Mr. Gaw complimented him on how large a plant he hadand compared it favorably with a number of similarplants he had visited. “It is one of the cleanest and neatestbronze factories I ever saw,” said Gaw.
“I’ve spent a lifetime building up this business,” thesubcontractor said, “and I am rather proud of it. Wouldyou like to take a look around the factory?”
During this tour of inspection, Mr. Gaw complimentedthe other man on his system of fabrication andtold him how and why it seemed superior to those ofsome of his competitors. Gaw commented on some unusualmachines, and the subcontractor announced thathe himself had invented those machines. He spent considerabletime showing Gaw how they operated and thesuperior work they turned out. He insisted on taking hisvisitor to lunch. So far, mind you, not a word had beensaid about the real purpose of Gaw’s visit.
After lunch, the subcontractor said, “Now, to get downto business. Naturally, I know why you’re here. I didn’texpect that our meeting would be so enjoyable. You cango back to Philadelphia with my promise that your materialwill be fabricated and shipped, even if other ordershave to be delayed.”
Mr. Gaw got everything that he wanted without evenasking for it. The material arrived on time, and the buildingwas completed on the day the completion contractspecified.
Would this have happened had Mr. Gaw used thehammer-and-dynamite method generally employed onsuch occasions?
Dorothy Wrublewski, a branch manager of the FortMonmouth, New Jersey, Federal Credit Union, reportedto one of our classes how she was able to help one of heremployees become more productive.
“We recently hired a young lady as a teller trainee.Her contact with our customers was very good. She wasaccurate and efficient in handling individual transactions.The problem developed at the end of the daywhen it was time to balance out.
“The head teller came to me and strongly suggestedthat I fire this woman. ‘She is holding up everyone elsebecause she is so slow in balancing out. I’ve shown herover and over, but she can’t get it. She’s got to go.’
“The next day I observed her working quickly andaccurately when handling the normal everyday transactions,and she was very pleasant with our customers.
“It didn’t take long to discover why she had troublebalancing out. After the office closed, I went over to talkwith her. She was obviously nervous and upset. Ipraised her for being so friendly and outgoing with thecustomers and complimented her for the accuracy andspeed used in that work. I then suggested we review theprocedure we use in balancing the cash drawer. Onceshe realized I had confidence in her, she easily followedmy suggestions and soon mastered this function. Wehave had no problems with her since then.”
Beginning with praise is like the dentist who beginshis work with Novocain. The patient still gets a drilling,but the Novocain is pain-killing. A leader will use . . .
PRINCIPLE 1 Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
I often went fishing up in Maine during the summer.Personally I am very fond of strawberries and cream, butI have found that for some strange reason, fish preferworms. So when I we
Psychologists know you have to be careful when you go poking around the human mind because you're never sure what you'll find there. A number of psychological experiments over the