How To Lead: 8 Key Points

If you change the way you behave, you will change the way that other people react to you. 

Most people would like others to be friendly and to be able to influence other people.

Leadership is a key part of assertiveness, and is covered in our assertiveness courses in London!

8 Lessons On How To Lead

1. Don’t Criticise

“While dealing with people, remember that you are dealing not with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion, who are motivated by pride and ego.” Dale Carnegie

No one likes to be attacked or feel that they are being attacked. Research shows it is one of the most common causes of divorce.

If you criticise or complain about someone, they will feel like they are being attacked. 

This is going to turn them against you. 

Instead of criticising, try to understand why people do what they do, empathise, and forgive.

2. Give Honest And Sincere Appreciation 

What do most people want? 

We all want to feel important and appreciated. Make someone else feel this way, and they will love you for it. 

“The deepest desire in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.” William James

Don’t do this dishonestly. People will see straight through it. 

Look for the positive when dealing with others. Constantly ask yourself: “What is there to admire about this person?”

Once you’ve figured it out, let them know in an honest and straightforward way. Everyone likes to be admired.

For people who find gratitude useful, this is really just learning a gratitude practice which you use each time you meet someone.

3. Arouse In The Other Person An Eager Want 

“It is true you are interested in what you want. But no one else is. The rest of us are just like you: interested in what we want.” Dale Carnegie

Just as we are interested in what is important to us, others are interested in what is important to them. 

We all want different things. We all see things differently.

To persuade others, you must figure out what motivates them and then explain how your plan or idea helps them get what they want, looking at things through their lens on life.

If you can combine your desires with their desires, they will become eager to work with you. 

4. Talk In Terms Of The Other Person’s Interests 

“The best and easy road to a person’s heart is to talk about the things they treasure the most.” Theodore Roosevelt

Focus on what the other person is interested in and talk about it first. 

Talk to people about their interests, and they will feel valued and important. They will enjoy the conversation. 

When in doubt, ask people about their past achievements and to talk about themselves. Both are a subject very close to their hearts!

You can talk about your interests, just don’t lead with them or monopolise the conversation with them. 

This is really the interpersonal equivalent of engaging your audience when presenting an idea. Meet your audience where they are and in terms that speak to their wants and needs.

5. Remember Names 

“The average person is more interested in their name than in all the other names on earth put together.” Dale Carnegie

Your name is a large part of what makes you unique and sets you apart from others. 

Remembering other people’s names will make them feel noticed and remembered (important, in short). Make a real effort to remember and use people’s names. 

6. Become Genuinely Interested In Other People 

“You can make more friends in two months by being interested in them than in two years by making them interested in you.” Dale Carnegie

Reciprocity is a fundamental human trait. 

We are interested in others who show an interest in us. Generally, we like people who like us. 

If you greet others enthusiastically, listen to them attentively and smile, you’re showing that you like them. 

The odds are that they will like you in return. 

Learning to ask open-ended questions will help a lot with this. Open-ended questions signal that you have time for the person that you’re speaking.

7. Avoid Arguments 

“If you argue and contradict, you may achieve a victory sometimes; but it will be an empty victory because you will never get your opponent’s goodwill.” Benjamin Franklin

There is no way to win an argument, so don’t argue. 

If you feel as if you’ve won because the other person accepted your point of view, you’ve still lost over the longer term. 

You have made the other person feel inferior and probably hurt their pride. So you’ve now lost their goodwill. You have lost over the long term.  

Avoid arguments whenever possible. 

8. Be A Good Listener 

Good conversationalists start by being good listeners. Learning to listen well is key to human relationships.

If you take a genuine interest in people, ask them questions that show you are interested in them and listen carefully to their answers, they will enjoy speaking to you.

People are most interested in themselves, so their wants, and their problems. 

If you show genuine interest in them, you will be showing that you also think those things are important.  

Is This Ethical? 

As with many things, the answer is that it depends on your intentions. 

There is nothing wrong with wanting someone to like you so that things are easier and more fun for both of you. 

Friendship is a fundamental human need and part of civilisation. 

If you apply the principles above genuinely and are not trying to deceive or manipulate someone, then they absolutely aren’t creepy or unethical. 

If you apply them trying to make someone like you for a reason that isn’t in their interests, then there absolutely is an issue.   


Winning other people over is an incredibly valuable skill in all aspects of life. 

This classic has some great advice, which we should probably all be using more often. 

Next time you are meeting someone new, pick one of the above and apply it. 

Afterwards, think about how the conversation went. 

I’m willing to bet it will go well. 

If you are interested in more book reviews, you can see our other blog posts:

For more on communication, check out our communication statistics here!

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About Ben Richardson

Ben is a director of Acuity Training which he has been running for over 10 years.

He is a Natural Sciences graduate from the University of Cambridge and a qualified accountant with the ICAEW.

He previously worked as a venture capitalist and banker and so had extensive experience with Excel from building financial models before moving to learn SQL, Microsoft Power BI and other technologies more recently.