Leaders Influence Can Make or Break a Team

In 1936, Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People was published. Experts regard his work as one of the first self-help books written. It has also gone on to become perhaps one of the most successful, selling over 30 million copies since its first printing. While influence is available for everyone, a leader’s influence is critical to organizations.

In the second part of this influential book, Carnegie outlines six simple ways to make people like you. Contained in those six principles are timeless approaches to creating positive interactions with others. 

Let’s revisit Carnegies’ six powerful reminders and apply them to workplace interactions. In particular, how leaders can effectively communicate with their teams and bring the best out of each member.

Carnegie’s 6 Basic Principles for How (People) Leaders Influence

These six principles are simple yet immensely useful tools for any organization. However, managers and supervisors looking to increase civility and morale among their team need to be the ones leading by example.

Become genuinely interested in other people

“If you want others to like you, if you want to develop real friendships, if you want to help others the same as you help yourself, keep this principle in mind.”

Becoming genuinely interested in other people means doing more than just asking how they are doing at a surface level. We are all guilty of inauthentically inquiring about someone’s well-being. You know, that rushed greeting where you go through the motions, while two or three other things are taking up most of your mental real estate?

People in the workplace are very capable of spotting inauthenticity when they see it.  Leaders need to be particularly attuned to this. Your feigned interest will inspire somebody else’s feigned response. Unfortunately, there are also trickle-down effects here that influence morale.

Your feigned interest will inspire somebody else’s feigned response.

If you want to inspire in your team a sincere interest in the success of your organization, start by showing a genuine interest in them. Sure it takes some effort, but the rewards will be significant and worth it.


“Actions speak louder than words, and a smile says, ‘I like you. You make me happy. I am glad to see you.’”

A smile is the most simple thing your face can give to any member of your team. A smile is a simple yet powerful tool. The beauty and simplicity of a smile can make others feel wonderful. Smiles inspire positive outlooks.

If you pass a co-worker in the hallway, whether they be subordinates or superiors, the wrong thing to do is to mutter a hello and lower your head (as you mull over the key takeaways from a meeting you just had).

The right thing to do is lift your head, stretch your lips, and show some teeth! Radiate happiness to the people around you and bring out their best while also bring out your best.

The right thing to do is lift your head, stretch your lips and show some teeth!

A sincere smile adds a positive outlook and sets the mood. If you are a manager or supervisor, you must lead by example. Yes, there will always be days when this is easier said than done. Do it, especially on those days that you need to be at your best.

Remember that a person’s name is the sweetest and most important sound in any language

“We should be aware of the magic contained in a name and realize that this single item is wholly and completely owned by the person with whom we are dealing.”

Remembering to use people’s first names at every possible opportunity leaves them with a lasting sense of respect and even trust. We have the power to make people feel extremely valued and important by remembering their names. Use this powerful tool. It requires minimal effort, and the effects are phenomenal.

That person in the hallway is more than one of the 20 customer service representatives on staff. Everyone has unique histories and experiences; all of them meaningful to each person. 

Validate people and address them by their first name. And do this often. People are more significant than their jobs. They are individuals who come into work every day and spend half of their waking hours serving your organization. A person’s name is the most important sound to them.

Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves

“Remember that the people you are talking to are a hundred times more interested in themselves and their wants and problems than they are in you and your problems.”

First, be a good listener. Then, encourage people to talk about themselves. The quickest way to improve your conversational skills is to improve your listening skills. The first step toward improving your listening skills is to care about what people have to say. So much of it circles back to being authentic. 

A workplace where staff are encouraged to get to know each other well, converse, and mingle regularly has found the secret ingredient to creating a harmonious workplace. Offering employees time to get to know each other on a personal level (families, neighborhoods, backgrounds, etc.)creates trust and a sense of camaraderie in a team. 

Talk in terms of the other person’s interest

The royal road to a person’s heart is to talk about the things he or she treasures most.”

managers and supervisors need to be extra aware of and present in the conversations they have with individual team members.  When we remember and talk to people about what they are interested in, or what their challenges are at work, they will feel valued. People value a leader that helps them sense their worth.

If you are wholly present in the conversations you are having with your team, this will quickly become reciprocal. 

Make the other person feel important. And do it sincerely

“Radiate a little happiness and pass on a bit of honest appreciation without trying to get something out of the other person in return.”

Treating other people the way we would like for ourselves is the basic rule of life. But how often do workplaces fail to bestow this level of decency on their employees? Unfortunately, the answer is less often than you would think.

A fundamental approach to making people feel important and valued in the workplace is to talk to them. Find ways to show them they are essential to you. You can remind them of what they already know about their value to an organization. A supervisor can reiterate to a team member how critical they are to the team. It all boils down to people feeling good about themselves and what they do.

Being authentic. This is the key to a leader’s influence. Sincerely valuing people as human beings and their contributions as important.

Remember that gem, and you remember the essence of how to influence as a leader.