Saturday, December 02, 2006

Honey v/s Vinegar

"You can attract more flies using a drop of honey than a gallon of vinegar."

Very nice put quotation. Often used in Dale Carnige's books.

So, does 'honey' in the above quotation mean sweet talking someone into doing something they may not want to do? No  leader worth their salt ever try to manipulate people. "You may fool some people some times. You may fool some people all times. You will not be able to fool all people all time."

What this quote means is that we can take empathetic approach to any argument and first make the other party understand that we fully understand or trying to understand their point of view. People are willing to give up certain things  after they are satisfied that they have been listened to. People are reasonable and do not stick to their opinions stubbornly. They will yield but only when treated with respect, empathy and more importantly listened to with full attention.

'Honey' in the above quotation means all the above. Being nice to people, making them comfortable, diffusing all their defensiveness by being very approachable. Of course, you also have to understand that you also can not get everything your way. Both the parties have to meet somewhere in the middle and be happy about doing so.

Don't think that this approach works best only when you do not have power over the person you are dealing with. You can use the same principle even with people reporting directly to you on whom you have officially granted (however ineffective it may be) control. Using your power may be able to coerce people to doing something they hate to do but it come back to bite you. Defense mechanism of people is triggered as soon as you approach them. Very soon you will end up having a team which you have destructed so well to be of no use.

Tom Demacro, in his book 'Slack', says something like - "in order to have real control, you have to give up false control." What Demacro is saying is that by giving up the control over people and putting them in charge, you are automatically making them feel empowered and protect your best interests. Isn't that better control than being able to crack the whip for no good results?

So, use honey often. Not the term. Not the material. But, the concept.


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