Leadership, Human Relations, Self-Confidence and ‘Night in a Museum’

My family went to see the movie ‘Night in a Museum’ last Monday. It was okay. Kind of a Jumanji meets Bill and Ted. What message there was in the movie had to do with leadership, self-confidence and human relations. I could not help but think of my Carnegie experience some more. A co-worker of mine, who took the course at the same time, frequently talks about how he has changed, and mentions his behavior in terms of ‘before Carnegie’ and ‘after Carnegie’. It is much the same for me.

During the movie, I thought about how the five drivers of success all work together, and work for anyone in many situations. The five drivers of success are:

Self-Confidence
Communication
Human Relations
Leadership
Attitude

I put these in a list in no particulat order, but they should go in a circle of some kind, kind of like the spokes on a wheel. There is no priority to the list, and they all work together. It is actually difficult to separate them.

The method Carnegie uses to help people improve in these areas is a powerful thing. One learns specific things to do in each area. You hear and read about examples in each area. There are specific goals and commitments made for the week. And a two minute talk to the group about what you did, and what the results were. This continues for three months. I’d like to give a brief glimpse at these five areas, not as an expert, but one who is learning.

Self-Confidence

A vital thing. If you can not view yourself as a good person, who can be a positive influence on others, it will be difficult for you to accomplish much in life. I believe many of us, deep down, believe in ourselves. We may not admit it, but there is a spark there. By going out of our comfort zone and using proper techniques in communication, human relations, leadership and attitude, we can see positive results and build our confidence. Increased chances of success in all areas will then be available to us.

Communication

We can not expect to build friendships and be a positive influence if we do not communicate well. Communication is so much more than the words that are used. Our energy, enthusiasm, body language and facial expressions, are very important parts of what we communicate. Also communication is always a two way street. In many cases, true leadership and positive human relationships will only come when the other person does much, if not most, of the talking. You will then be in a position to know where the other person is coming from, and then be in position to be a friend and a positive influence. In time this will help your self-confidence, human relations, leadership and attitude.

Human Relations

So much in life revolves around the quality of our human relationships. I used to think human relations would just take care of themselves. They don’t. We must actively do things to promote quality human relations if we want to be successful at much of anything. This is not being manipulative, it is taking responsibility for the quality of our relationships. So much of happiness and success in life will depend on what the quality of our relationships with others are. High quality human relations will increase our confidence, communication, leadership and attitude.

Leadership

Leadership is something that is difficult for me to define. To me, when one cares about the success of a project, a company, a group, more than his own personal success and ambition they are in a position to be a leader. Helping others to succeed is leadership. Helping others to improve is leadership. Being a positve influence is leadership. This often does not require a position of importance, a degree, a calling, or anything of the sort. The low man on the totem pole can be a leader. A friend can be a leader. A parent. A child. ‘A little child shall lead them’. As one awakens to their potential for pure leadership – not just management – their self-confidence, communications, human relations and attitude will all improve. See a pattern here?

Attitude

For most of us, attitude is something that we can choose. What type of person do you want to be? For many, being a friendly, energetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, happy person is a matter of choice – and understanding what this type of person ‘looks’ like and acts like. As a man thinketh – so is he. As one begins to value and incorporate an improved attitude into their life, all other areas will be strengthened as well.

Success in many areas of life is often available for the taking. It is not really a competition with others, but a desire for something better for yourself and for those in your area of influence. I am so glad that I am beginning to wake up to some of these things. They are not natural for me. I am noticing subtle improvements in my life. I do not believe I have made a 180 degree change, but perhaps a 5 degree change. But it is encouraging to see how even minor improvements in these areas can have such a positive affect.

I hope this helps someone.

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13 Responses to “Leadership, Human Relations, Self-Confidence and ‘Night in a Museum’”


  1. 1 Eric Nielson January 18, 2007 at 11:39 am

    If anyone would like to try this type of self improvement, and doesn’t mind a novice ‘coach’, let me know in a comment. I would be glad to offer suggestions.

  2. 2 Dave January 18, 2007 at 12:41 pm

    And the question is … how does this apply to blogging? Is blogging a way to win friends and influence people?

    I read the Carnegie book before my mission and found it to be a nice foundation for dealing productively with people.

  3. 3 Eric Nielson January 18, 2007 at 2:33 pm

    Dave:

    Thanks for your comment.

    I believe this can apply to pretty much any area of life.

    In short I also feel that about everything is an opportunity to win friends and influence people.

    I wrote a post once about human relations for blogging over at BofJ here.

  4. 5 Jettboy January 19, 2007 at 6:38 pm

    The book “how to win friends and influence people” is a one I wish I never read. My own title for it is “How to be a stick up and minipulate people like a true hypocrite.”

  5. 6 Eric Nielson January 19, 2007 at 8:51 pm

    If there is real sincerity behind the techniques, then there is no hypocricy. If one is a hypocrite, then the techniques will not work in the long run.
    Don’t take this wrong, but your reaction to the book probably suggests that you have been the victom of manipulation that did not have best interests at heart.
    Proper motives must be assumed when considering these techniques.

  6. 7 Jettboy January 19, 2007 at 10:08 pm

    As for the minipulation? Probably, but I don’t know of any to single out. Rather, I read the book and saw in it behavior of people I didn’t admire. There isn’t any reason I can particularly pin point, but my own personality is completely opposite what that book taught.

    My own theory on human relations is the old “just be yourself” and if you are not a naturally nice person, at least show respect. On the surface, it might seem the book taught those two things, but a careful reading shows that isn’t the case. Rather, it taught how to pretend to those things if convenient.

    As for people I know who do follow those quidelines, very few of them come off as sincere to me. I have seen too many of them say and act one way, and then turn around and be someone entirely different when in another situation (or in front of another person). This happened before reading the book, and I instantly recognized what was happening when reading.

    I would rather someone, as nicely as possible if needed, tell me the way it is; not the way they think it should sound. That is what I do. It may not make many friends or influence too many people, but I don’t feel fake.

  7. 8 Eric January 20, 2007 at 2:25 am

    So shall we never seek improvement then? Just be yourself. Something just doesn’t ring true in this. It seems to me that is what the ‘world’ says – just be yourself. What does Christ say? Be ye therefore perfect. What manner of men ought ye to be? even as I am. Come follow me.

    It seems to me that if we desire to be christlike, then we must change. Frequently. To me that is what the core part of repentance is about. Change and returning to the trust of God. How we treat people is a key aspect of what it means to be Christlike. It is a key part of being charitable.

    So how does someone make meaningful change? Particularly in terms of charity. We can pray for it, yes, but I believe we also must make effort. For me a powerful way of gaining a testimony of a commandment is to live it for a while, and see the fruits. Then our values, motivations, our hearts can really change.

    So a new convert struggles with paying tithing. Someone convinces them to just try it for a while. Even though there may be a lack of faith and some lingering selfishness, they decide to give it a try. They get by financially. They feel the spirit of it. They see the fruits (blessings) of it. Their values change, they gain a testimony, their hearts change, they make real change. Now tithing is part of them, when at first they may have done so reluctantly.

    I believe a similar pattern can be used in many areas, including the areas I posted about. Perhaps a person (like me) has a real problem being friendly to new people. Perhaps a new convert, that I feel I should friendship, but lack the confidence and the people skills to do it wel. But my desires are good, and I wish to improve. Should I shrug my shoulders and say, ‘I should just be myself’? My introverted, quiet, unsociable, self?

    Or, should I decide that I should go beyond my comfort zone. That I should learn a few people skills and practice them, even if I am uncomfortable at first. I try it akwardly at first, but get better. After a while I begin to have more confidence with small talk and basic friendshipping. I see some fruits of my efforts. I begin to enjoy meeting new people. My heart starts to change. I become more christlike in my social behavior.

    I am a simple man. I believe I am a good man. I know I lack people skills, particularly in real life. I want to do better in this area. I don’t want to sit quietly in the back and not be that good member missionary or friendly home teacher. Someone with a ‘Spock’ like personality like me needs specific techniques and practice – where others come by it naturally.

    I believe we must improve ourselves. Particularly in areas like general charity. This will take stretching beyond our natural selves. In some ways our natural selves are an enemy to God. Pure minded self improvement need not be fake.

  8. 9 Jettboy January 20, 2007 at 3:10 am

    “My own theory on human relations is the old “just be yourself” and if you are not a naturally nice person, at least show respect.”

    I am surprised you latched so strongly on to this, considering everything else I said. Although I can see where you might get the wrong impression by that comment, I am not sure how “just be yourself” relates to not improving yourself. I never said we can’t change, just that we shouldn’t be who we aren’t to score some social points.

    “I believe we must improve ourselves. Particularly in areas like general charity. This will take stretching beyond our natural selves. In some ways our natural selves are an enemy to God. Pure minded self improvement need not be fake.”

    Your right, and it isn’t anywhere near what I was saying. I understand you take the methods of that book to heart, and perhaps that is why you lashed out so hard against my words. Sadly, my experience with people who act or use those methods (as outlined in the book and not particularly your post) are less positive. My words are failing me at this point as I am afraid both of us are going to be offending the other. All I can say is that we will have to agree to disagree.

  9. 10 Eric January 20, 2007 at 1:48 pm

    To simplify my point (I hope) -

    I do not believe Carnegie techniques themselves are manipulative, selfish, personally ambitious, etc. Some people are.

    I think this might be interesting – I believe that both Christ and Satan are experts in areas of leadership, human relations, communication, etc. But they have entirely different motives. Carnegie techniques in the hands of greedy, selfish, vain, personally ambitions souls is a dangerous thing. If one has more pure and christlike motives, then Carneie techniques and similar things, can become a powerful influence for good. Like most things – even truth.

  10. 11 Matt W. January 22, 2007 at 6:13 pm

    I find Carnegie’s program to be a course in utilizing Social Skills to their maximum benefit. When I read “How to win friends…” I was initially disappointed that there was no cheap manipulative trick involved.

    I teach teens for sunday school, and actually think basic social skills are extremely lacking in this age group of spongebob-brained youth. At least this is the case in my ward. I am hoping to incorporate some social skills training throughout the year as we progress.

  11. 12 Eric Nielson January 22, 2007 at 10:06 pm

    Thanks Matt:

    I agree, there is no ‘tricks’ involved. If you are not sincere you will be exposed eventually. These things take effort and energy and changes in behavior.

    I also agree with the youth. I heard a mission president say that one of the biggest things he wishes new missionaries had was basic social skills. Just to be able to have a normal adult conversation would be good.

    I wish you the best in your important calling.

  12. 13 bamembaya peter January 7, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    i would like read your book as far as this topic is concern


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