Dale Carnegie once recalled the story of a class member, Anna Mazzone, who was a marketing specialist for a food packer. Ms. Mazzone was given her first major assignment—the test marketing of a new product. She told the class: “When the results of the test came in, I was devastated. I had made a serious error in my planning, and worse, I had no time to discuss it with my boss before the meeting in which I was to make my report on the project.
“When I was called on to give the report, I was shaking with fright. I had all I could do to keep from breaking down, but I resolved I would not cry and have all those men make remarks about women not being able to handle an assignment because they are too emotional. I made my report briefly and stated that due to an error I would repeat the study before the next meeting. I sat down, expecting my boss to blow up.
“Instead, he thanked me for my work and remarked that it was not unusual for a person to make an error on a new project and that he had confidence that the reeat survey would be accurate and meaningful to the company. He assured me, in front of my colleagues, that he ad faith in me and knew I had done my best, and that my lack of experience, not my lack of ability, was the reason for the failure.
“I left that meeting with y head up in the air and with the determination that I would never let that boss of mine down again.”
Even if we know we are right and the other person if definitely wrong, we only destroy ego by causing someone to lose face. The legendary French aviation pioneer and author, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, wrote: “I have no right to say or do anything that diminishes a man in his own eyes. What matters is not what I think of him, but what he thinks of himself. Hurting a man in his dignity is a crime.”
Remember, a real leader will always let the other person save face. Here’s an example of this important principle in action from your friends at Dale Carnegie Training of Michigan:
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