Does anybody like being told what to do? From your parents when you were a child, to your teachers in school, to your boss on the job, following directives is often accepted grudgingly, or at worst, with open hostility.
Yet, we followed our directives because of the consequences that would follow if we didn’t: Punishment from our parents, detention or extra assignments from our teachers, loss of wages from our employers.
Dale Carnegie knew that no one likes to take orders and used to tell a story relayed to him by Miss Ida Tarbell, the dean of American biographers, while he was dining with her one evening.
Miss Tarbell told Carnegie that while she was writing her biography of American industrialist and businessman, Owen D. Young, she interviewed a man who had sat for three years in the same office with Mr. Young. This man declared that during all that time he had never heard Owen D. Young give a direct order to anyone. Rather, he always gave suggestions. Instead of “Do this,” or “Do that,” he would say, “You might consider this,” or “Do you think that would work?” One time while looking over a letter written by one of his assistants, he’d say, “Maybe if we were to phrase it this way it would be better.”
The point is that Mr. Young always gave a person an opportunity to do things on his own and learn from his mistakes. That makes it easy for a person to correct his error. It saves a person’s pride and gives him or her a feeling of importance. And perhaps most importantly, it makes the person want to cooperate instead of rebel.
Here’s an example of asking questions instead of giving direct orders from Dale Carnegie Training:
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