The technique of handling people by Donald Laird - Summary

The eleven secrets of handling people is definitely a must read if you want to rise into management naturally without effort. It has so many valuable suggestions for your work life as well as your private life that it is an indispensible guide for everybody.


Ask questions to win cooperation

  • ask questions to avoid jumping to conclusions about your employees
  • ask someone about their opinion to raise their confidence
  • ask people to do you a favor to make them improve their attitude towards you
  • use questions on angry people to steer their minds away from the aggravating subject
  • don’t give away your desired wage to prospective employers during an interview, rather ask how much they are willing to give
  • ask open ended questions to start a conversation

  • to prepare a speech, ask yourself questions which the audience would probably ask yourself if you were in a one on one conversation

The habit of accurate observation is fundamental to success in any endeavor. It is a habit in which each of us should be seeking ever to be more perfect.

– Eugene G. Grace

Men are square and the vast majority of workers want to do right. They quickly respond to a square deal.

– Charles R. Hook

  • Keep in mind:
    • Don’t pry into personal affairs.
    • Don’t ask questions unless you are pretty certain the person addressed can answer them.
    • Don’t ask questions that seem to cross-examine.
    • Don’t ask in an antagonizing way - make it friendly conversation.
    • Don’t ask questions to show off yourself - ask those that help the other fellow show off.
  • Use reverse questions:
    • Customer: What pattern do you think should I get?
    • Sales: Well, let me see, what will you be using it for?
  • Use the magic questions: And in addition to that? like Frank Bettger

  • Ask questions to make people talk themselves into a cooperative attitude.

Be brief to clear up troubles

  • let your conversation partner do most of the talking

  • if you have initiated a topic that interests the other person, even if you have more to say about it, don’t talk under any circumstances and let the other person do the talking

It is important in a conference that everyone be given an opportunity to talk at length, that ideas expressed be listened to with tolerance by all.

– Walter S. Gifford

Forget the almighty dollar and think in terms of people.

– Hortense M. Odlum

One sensible question often takes you farther than a bookful of arguments.

– George A. Blackmore

Humanity will never completely free itself from recurrences of barbarism until women participate and collaborate equally with men in all phases of life.

– Vivien Kellems

  • In a marriage, both should do their fair share of listening as well as of talking.

  • In business, people who you can trust should be able to reduce their talking as talking gives away business secrets which is bad for deals.

  • Einstein’s formula: x + y + z = success

    • x: hard work
    • y: play
    • z: “ability to keep your mouth shut”

Confident bearing to control others

  • acting in a confident manner not only helps to convince others but also helps yourself to pull through tough situations

  • assume that others will do what you want

appear confident, not only in your words, but also in the firmness in which they are said

Directness to reach into people’s mind

  • give attentions to others if you want them to notice you. Just “jumping around” and assuming others will take the first step is a fallacy

  • talk directly at people not past them

People who fail to achieve what they want in life don’t want it badly enough to do the hard work. There just ain’t no golden chariot that will take you there.

– Charles E. Wilson

Confidence - in self, in product, in associates, and in the future - is the basis of progress.

– Glenn L. Martin

Only in America is it possible for a bench worker of today to become an employer of thousands tomorrow. There is only one requirement - the courage to put your big idea in motion and keep it moving.

– Walter D. Fuller

We have to depend on our manhood, vigor, and hardihood to get along in the world. The big, strong, husky ones of use haven’t the right to have ood muscles unless we use them. The bright, keen and aggressive onces haven’t any right to such qualities unless we use them. Work is hard - but fun when the heart is in it.

– Edward G. Budd

  • If you ignore people, people will ignore you.

  • Don’ts:
    • Don’t outstare the other person. Look at various parts of their face, the chin, the tip of their nose, the mouth etc.
    • Keep a healthy distance to your conversation partner.
  • Try to remember and recognize other people’s eye colors during conversation to practice directness.

Earnestness to arouse enthusiasm

  • earnestness is achieved if you act toward the other fellow as if he were your own brother.

Friendly, kindly guidance wins cooperation which is more to be desired than subservience or meekness

– Edwin J. Thomas

The way a job is done is much more important than what is done. The spirit in which an undertaking is approached is what counts in getting it carried out.

– Louis Ruthenburg

Sincerity is the greatest force in the world. It shines in the eye and lends strength to the voice, so that two people meeting for the first time may judge each other fairly. I can always get along with a man who is sincere no matter where he is right or wrong, because I know where he stands.

– Arthur W. S. Herrington

Democracy is based on the mutual faith of a people, in themselves, in each other, and in a way of life.

– James L. Kraft

Friendliness to overcome opposition

  • If someone asks you a favor and you know already you can’t fulfill it, try to do them the courtesy of trying it nonetheless as this communicates friendliness and good spirit.

  • People reflect friendliness back at you.

  • start being friendly well in advance if possible. For instance, welcome a new business in a city right at the open to set a good atmosphere.

  • Secrets of friendliness:

    • assume other people like you
    • say hello and smile as the first person
    • take it for granted that you will like other people on first sight
    • magnify good points of others even if they are of insignificance. Ignore annoying qualities.

Good-finding to mobilize ability

  • see the good in other people and help them shine in their qualities. This allows you to have enough human capital for occupying leadership roles.

  • emphasize the good points in people as it is way more effective to improve people than pointing out every fault

A weak leader is afraid to develop those under him for fear they will surpass him. A strong leader knows that if he properly develops his associates he will be even stronger.

– James F. Lincoln

Treat your men the way you expect them to treat you.

– Clarence Reese

Leadership involves remembering past mistakes, an analysis of today’s achievements, and a well-grounded imagination in visualizing the problems of the future.

– Stanley C. Allyn

The changing world demands new adjustments and if we do not develop we are left behind.

– Clifford F. Hood

  • Faultfinding plants negative ideas. Good-finding brings a positive attitude.

  • During a crisis it is essential to know what your employees are good at. Constant fault finding without pointing out the good, puts you in a situation of many unknowns. On the contrary, constantly pointing out good qualities gives you the knowledge what others are good at. This knowledge is vital during an emergency.

  • Not only find the good points in others but also know what is good about yourself.

Harness criticism in a way to win appreciation

Only a fool criticizes people openly. Only a fool neglects to criticize people who need it.

  • Things to remember in criticizing:
    • Criticize in private, not in the presence of others.
    • Do it with a smile, in a friendly manner.
    • Give some praise first to take of the sting.
    • Approach through the person’s self-interest, that it will make it easier for them, not make more money of the company.
    • Make it constructive; show how, don’t merely find fault. If you don;t know how, keep quiet.
    • And end up with another bit of praise and a pat on the back.
  • Good criticism can be remember like a layer cake, with only a small taste of bitterness in the middle.

Establish … through every possible means, the self-respect of workers and make them feel they’re part of the team - not just numbers on a time clock.

– C. Donald Dallas

Our importance to others can only be gauged by our accomplishments.

– Bill Jack

By praising a person you bring out the best in him, and he will understand you better when criticism is necessary.

– Clarence Francis

As a springboard to get over an obstacle, try the encouragement of praise.

– Jack Frye

Increase other’s self-esteem to cultivate loyalty

  • Listen to suggestions of others if even you have known it before. Don’t interrupt them.

  • Don’t take credit for what you are not responsible.

  • If you do an inspection in a factory, tell the operator the following to increase their self-esteem: “I don’t know much about this machine your are using. You know it from inside out. Tell me what the tricks are in running it.”

  • Deflate your own ego to give a lift to the self esteem of others.

The importance of one’s job does not depend upon the pay or the title, every job is important if it is done well.

Never get so busy that you haven’t time to think.

– William M. Jeffers

In business we must have patience to bear with the things that are not pleasant; perseverance to keep everlasting at it to attain the goal we have set for ourselves; and confidence that we shall get there some day.

– George H. Bucher

Always leave others thinking well of themselves.

Jingle praise to secure best offers

  • Give praise to others to make them perform better.

  • Look for the little things to praise like a spotlessly cleaned floor

  • Give praise to your workers ever week.

The best way to stimulate is to say something encouraging or say nothing.

One of the most important factors in executive success is gaining and holding the complete confidence of employees - especially executives with whom he comes in close contact - and the industry in which he is engaged.

– Benjamin S. Katz

Nobody can do a good job unless he is interested in his work with an interest transcending financial gain.

– William A. Patterson

Know your people to generate harmony

  • workers develop a sense of resentment towards the boss if he doesn’t know them. They feel like a third wheel on cart.

Small departments have the best morale, for then the worker and bosses know each other better - it is just human nature.

  • use their names and notice them, a simple hello or good morning can mean the world to them

  • things to remember:

    • where they live
    • whether they are married and if they have kids
    • know their hobbies and recreations
    • know their birthdays
    • know their troubles

Leading - or driving?

  • know what people like to guide them in a positive way instead of shouting or “kicking” them in the right direction

The youth of today will find in the world of tomorrow opportunities that the pioneers of yesterday hardly dreamed possible. Riches are more likely to handicap an entrant in the race. That fact is not entirely new with this generation but needs restatement to encourage each succeeding generation.

– David Sarnoff

Just the minute you get satisfied with what you’ve got, the concrete has begun to harden in your head.

– Charles F. Kettering

Lead - don’t boss.

The following lists are taken from the book to indicate the differences between a leader and a boss.

  • The boss:
    • Drives his men.
    • Counts on authority.
    • Keeps them guessing, fearful.
    • Talks about “I”.
    • Says “get here on time.”
    • Finds blame for breakdowns.
    • Knows how it is done.
    • Makes work a drudgery.
    • Says, “Go!”
  • The leader:
    • Coaches his men.
    • Gets their good will.
    • Arouses their enthusiasm.
    • Makes it “We.”
    • Gets there ahead of time.
    • Fixes the breakdown.
    • Shows how it is done.
    • Makes work a game.
    • Says, “Let’s go!”

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