Dale Carnegie once told the story of Pamela Dunham of New Fairfield, Connecticut, who had among her responsibilities on her job the supervision of a janitor who was doing a very poor job. The other employees would jeer at him and litter the hallways to show him what a bad job he was doing. It was so bad, productive time was being lost in the shop.
Without success, Pam tried various ways to motivate this person. She noticed that occasionally he did a particularly good piece of work. She made a point to praise him for it in front of the other people. Each day the job he did all around got better, and pretty soon he started doing all his work efficiently. Soon, he began doing an excellent job and other people gave him appreciation and recognition. Honest appreciation got results where criticism and ridicule failed.
Hurting people not only does not change them, it is never called for. There is an old saying that Dale Carnegie had cut out and pasted on his mirror, where he couldn’t help but see it every day:
I shall pass this way but once; any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.
Give honest, sincere appreciation to everyone in your life, especially those that need it most. Be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise,” and people will cherish your words and treasure them and repeat them over a lifetime—for years after you have forgotten them.
Here’s an example of this important principle in action from your friends at Dale Carnegie Training of Central Indiana:
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