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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Book Review: Winning with People by John Maxwell


Winning with others is about understanding both ourselves and other people we live and work with. Before one can truly grasp the needs and desires of another person we must first understand our own needs and desires. It is through this self-reflection that we gain the ability to see other people for who they truly are. We cannot accurately see others until we understand what biases we hold about ourselves that impact our perceptions

The book Winning with People by John Maxwell sheds light on human relationships and how we come to understand and live with each other. On any particular day we associate, negotiate with, and deal with many other people who have their own interests in mind. Some of them are well developed and others are suffering from their own self-perception. 

Before we can understand our place in these social networks we must first understand that the entire population of the world, with the exception of ourselves, is composed of other people. It means that we are only one small piece of a larger pie. It is beneficial to take the perspective of the “other” before trying to force them to the submission of our will. Our way of thinking may not be the only way of thinking....or even the best way.

Conflicts within the workplace are common. They are bound to happen by the sheer fact that we are negotiating for wealth, influence and other resources. However, by caring for other people we have created stronger trusting relationships that supersede the conflict. It isn’t as though conflict is not necessary but that such conflict is done with conscious awareness of the perspective of the other person, their development, and the greater positive outcome. 

When we celebrate and engage with people we find them willing to celebrate and engage with us. There are those in life and at work that have a hard time connecting with anyone. This is due to their perceptual problem with themselves and not necessarily with the group. At other times, it may be the group and not the individual. Seek to look at and develop others and they will seek your development. We all go up or down together through shared experience. 

Of the wisdom that this book offers is a saying of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe:

Treat a man as he appears to be and you make him worse. But treat a man as if he already were what he potentially could be, and you make him what he should be. 

The quote is perfect for managers who desire to create higher levels of performance with workers. If a manager treats employees as though they are lazy, uncooperative, and self-interested they will become so. However, if you were to treat a worker s as though they have specific job knowledge, were contributors to organization, and capable of improved performance the worker will do so.  

The book is written at an undergraduate level and the author has put forward a number of important works on social relationships. Even though the book doesn’t state self-fulfilling prophecy it does elude to such a concept. It contains a strong message for students of business in the sense that we create what we see. What we see is based upon our perception of self. This self-perception creates our understanding of the world in which we live. 

Maxwell, C. (2005). Winning with People. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.  ISBN: 978-0-7852-8874-9
Pages:  270
Cost: $12.00
Blog Ranking: 4.1/5

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