This chapter, to me, really was all about getting you in the mind set of being successful. This chapter really takes me back to when I first started riding competitively. There is always going to be someone better than you and you can always improve from your last ride even if you won. The goal is to convince one judge that you’re more perfect than any other rider competing against you. There are times where you can your trainer think that you did better than the rider who won. I spent a lot of time being disappointed because I wasn’t doing as well as I thought I should be and that puts a lot of self-doubt in your head. It’s hard to stay positive and motivated, but having the support of my mom, trainer, and barn family, I was about to keep up my training and motivation to get better and better after each ride. I really liked the quote the book used by Henry Ford saying that ” If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.” This is so true! Everyone can tell you that you won’t succeed and it means nothing unless you start to believe it. Only you can stand in your way of being the best at something.
Chapter 20 talks again about uprisings and revolts and how a prince should defend against them. Of course one of the main things a prince has to do is avoid hatred, obviously if your people like you then it’s less likely they’ll revolt against you, and suppress opposition before it gets out of hand. But what I really found interesting was that Machiavelli put less emphasis on how strong or big a fortress is to determine military strength or value. He instead focused on how the attitudes of his people has a greater value than any physical structure. This ties back to the other books we have been reading. People are one of, if not the most important part to business, or in this case, a kingdom. It is very hard to fight any type of battle without people who are loyal to you. You could have all the right tools and strategies to win any battle but without having people to help you execute your plan, you’ll always fall to the one who has their followers’ support.
Chapters 21-23 talk about how a prince should appear to his subjects. A prince should appear to be honorable and wise. This definitely breeds respect from a prince’s people. They see that he is a fair judge that deals the correct punishments for crimes and that he is educated. I agree with Machiavelli when he explained how a prince should himself have sufficient knowledge on warcraft, politics, etc. A prince cannot rely solely on the advice from his advisors because how will he know when he’s being lied too or when the information doesn’t fit his goals? In the business world today all these things are crucial to a leader. It is important that your subordinates respect you and it is important to know when to ask for advice and also, know enough to recognize when someone is trying to pull one over on you.
I would like to relate some readings from The Prince, and some from Effective Leadership. In chapter 3 of The Prince, Machiavelli talks about problem solving, having systems in place to solve future problems, and making sure those systems don’t cause unnecessary harm and an uprising. Reading that made me think back to chapter 1 in Effective Leadership. That chapter talked about leadership as power and influence. Meaning, leaders set the goals or vision and then motivate others to achieve these goals by using either their powers of persuasion or their authority over their subordinates. Now, the effectiveness of that leader depends upon the degree to which the leader picked or devised the right strategy and the leader’s ability to motivate and influence the group to carry the strategy out. The goal of a Prince is to make your people like and respect you and the rules you have set along with having your enemies fear you. To tie it all back together, a leader/prince has to be able to choose the right strategy that makes his/her people happy, and have enough power to influence/motivate that strategy to be effective.
Honestly, most of the of the material was hard for me to analyze. I found myself looking up SparkNotes on it so I wasn’t completely lost. However, the one thing that I really understood and took to a deeper meaning was when Machiavelli talked about knowing when to not attack someone because they have enough resources to keep their people safe and fed and when to wait. I related this to life in general. In life, we all want to be successful and we all want to get there before everyone else. We want to find shortcuts to the top but what we need to realize that if we put the effort and time in to do things correctly, you can be twice as successful as the person who took the shortcuts. Putting the time and effort into something shows how dedicated you are to your goals and makes reaching your goals that much more satisfying.
Chapter 5 starts off with the Kaplan Thaler Group and how it pays to be nice. I relate to this on a very personal level. I have always been a firm believer in “The Golden Rule” and that treating people with kindness will get you better results in the end. So this case gave me the clarification that it’s not just me and I’m not actually crazy for thinking this and trying to implement it as much as I can. Looking onward to the development opportunities for men and women section, I was not surprised that only 27% of the world’s managerial leaders were women. It’s a fact, people perceive men as being more powerful and more capable of handling the top executive jobs. The study that Irene De Pater and her colleges performed really showed how women aren’t given as many developmental opportunities when having to share those opportunities with men. When the tasks were divide up, the men were given more of the complex tasks and the women, the simpler tasks. This is a big reason why women have a glass ceiling in the workforce. It really upsets me that even when women try their hardest to show that they can be just as good and even better than men, they’ll still get stuck with the simple and less complex tasks. How are we suppose to prove ourselves if we aren’t even given the chance? There are very powerful women in the world and have proven that women can do the job even better than a man can.
Chapter 6 talked about many different styles of leadership. Honestly, to me, it all seemed to tie back into the last chapter when talking about either initiating structure leadership or consideration. Going back and forth with so many different theories seeing if it is possible to be good at both. Well to answer that question….it is possible. But there are some situations when a manager would need to use one style more than the other and that makes perfect sense. On another note, I really liked the comparison of the two types of leadership with sports. The sports like basketball would have a high task interdependence because each member has to coordinated their activities with those of another group members. The more solo sports like horseback riding, would focus more on consideration because there is a high level of independent work, not having to worry about what another was doing.
This chapter talks all about emotional intelligence. I like to think that I have pretty good emotional intelligence. I am typically very good at reading people and I have pretty decent emotional control in the workplace. I am also very good at understanding and relating with other people’s emotions. Relating this to leadership, I find that good leaders have good emotional intelligence. It is one thing to be able to control your emotions and another thing when you can control others. As a leader, you will have to be able to read the room to see if you are captivating enough, for example. Also, if someone is yelling at you in the hallway, be able to keep your cool and very quietly and calmly, ask to move the conversation into an office. You can’t become flustered or lose control. Being in a leadership position can be very stressful and emotional and you need to be able to control how you react to certain problems that arise.
Chapter 3 begins with looking at Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook. Some of the information I wasn’t surprised about and some of it I was. For example, I kind of figured that Mark was a very smart man with very good computer programming skills. On the other hand, I was surprised to find out that his social skills were less than stellar. How can someone with so little social awareness and interpersonal skills develop such a popular and successful social networking platform? The book starts talking about how intelligence and leadership positively correlate. I agree with all the statements made because when you are in a leadership position people will be looking to you for what to do. You have to be able to solve complex tasks and be educated enough to see beyond what is in front of you. I also thought that the comparison of leadership and chess was interesting. If you think about it it actually makes sense. Chess forces you to think ahead by so many moves to try and anticipate your opponent which is very useful in the business world. It also allows you to generate alternatives and think logically when confronted with problems.
This was probably my favorite part of the book. Why? Well to me it’s so clever that it makes me smile and laugh because of how well it works. Especially the part where you give a problem student, employee, or colleague a job that puts them in charge of the thing they’re having an issue in. Giving them a reputation to live up too really changes their behavior. Whether it be because they want to show they have authority or they genuinely want to improve. I should really try to use some of these techniques on my brother and see how they work out…
A lot of the book really tied all of the points together. I do feel like things were said more than once but explained to fit the certain overall talking point. For example, saving face was talked about here with making mistakes and in the previous part when he talked about arguments. Same principle applies, just for the use of a different application. This book really has helped me realize all the things that I have been doing correctly and need to improve on, as well as the things that I need to start doing. I am looking forward to utilizing this book in becoming better leader!
I feel that when people start thinking about privilege, they start thinking about the people who were born into money, didn’t have to work as hard for things, weren’t exposed to as much of the “cruel” world as the rest of us, etc. After reading this part of the book, I realized that it means so much more than that. We are all privileged in different ways, it’s what makes each of us different with our own different experiences.
I like to think of myself as a person who has diverse relationships but after I did the Diversity Inventory activity, it didn’t show that. Now I know that I have friends who aren’t my top 5 who are different from me. We all tend to stay close and hang around those whom are similar to us. I like having friends who are different from me because it opens my eyes and my broadens my horizons on many different things. Now I’m not the type of person who likes to talk about religion and politics with my friends because it does cause unwanted tensions and rifts.
The last two chapters were about assuming and judging. I think of myself as someone who doesn’t typically judge someone until I’ve heard their story and I almost never assume. The few activities I did also showed that. I’ve been in the situation where I’ve been judged based on one thing and people have assumed that I’m not strong enough or smart enough to handle a certain task. So being on that side of things, I try my best not to do that to others. Now I know that I’m not perfect and I slip up but I never assume that my experiences are the same as someone else’s.
Have you ever really thought about the saying that you attract more bees with honey than with vinegar? Well, this part of Carnegie’s book did just that for me. I am a very stubborn person and once I am set on something, it is almost impossible for me to change me thinking. Also, when I believe in something, I believe very intensely in it. So there are many things where I enjoy a good argument and enjoy it when I can prove myself right. However, that does not seem to get me as far as I would have thought. People do not typically like to be told and shown how wrong they are. We have sensitive egos and dislike those very deeply who attack and damage our egos. Sure you might be right all the time and can always prove it, but you will look back and find that you have more enemies than you do friends. This part of the book teaches that you can still get your way or your point across by taking different approaches in persuading others. Let them feel like they came up with an idea, let yourself take blame, look at things per other’s viewpoint, challenge others, and appeal to their honorable and moral motives. These tactics will get just about anyone to do what you want. You will make them feel important and powerful. Like they matter and that you are helping them rather than them helping you.