Cunning Plan: As a highly ethical executive, you might be thinking that shamelessly playing up to the audience and courting popularity is a tad manipulative. But, here’s a different twist on it. In 1954, Dale Carnegie published ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’. The core thesis = if you want to influence people, talk to them about them – not about you. Wean yourself off the standard conversational diet ‘How I saved the world’ and other hugely interesting stories. As a bonus, you will never be ‘stuck’ for a conversation topic for the rest of your life and people will think that you are really interesting (because, of course, they find themselves interesting).
Turns out that sucking up to the audience makes sense for most of us, most of the time. Not in an inauthentic way – you don’t have to feign interest or agree with opinions which you find distasteful. But you do have to acquire that hugely underrated skill, listening (and understand the subtle but important difference between listening and interrogation). If you are not sure of the difference, just go on a date with someone who is a trainee therapist. It will be a long night! (and, not in a good way).
Other People: The root of this is that you have to be genuinely interested in the other person’s point of view – not always relating the ‘latest’ war story in your own life. Drama works great – on stage. In the office or factory it just becomes boring when the same person keeps playing the part of the Hero (or the Victim or the Outraged Citizen who would run the country differently and so on).
Watch out for those 10 year olds. They keep reminding you of stuff you already know, but might have forgotten.