I just finished reading the biography on Steve Jobs.
Now, I’m reading a book on how to increase your people skills. Why? Because sometimes I’m a congenial ol’chap; other times, I’m an irascible snob. I’m trying to cut the latter and indulge the former. It’s not that I want to be a schmoozer; I just want to be more kind.
Here’s the contradiction:
In the new book, there’s a section on how to get people to like you. It’s funny reading it, but the author does make some good points, like 1) Don’t argue with people; it makes them resent you. 2) Take interest in people and they will take interest in you. 3) Remember a person’s name, because, to that person, it is the most beautiful utterance in all language. 4) Be an active listener and ask good questions.
It all sounds like great counsel. It’s the type of stuff that will surely make people like you. But then I considered my readings in the Steve Jobs’ biography, and Jobs didn’t follow any of these points whatsoever. I take that back; he usually remembered people’s names. But then he would place them in one of two categories (genius or a**hole). In addition, Jobs was frequently argumentative. He was disinterested in anyone who wasn’t “genius.” And he often cut people off in mid-sentence, refusing to listen to their ideas.
Yet, somehow, this CEO built the most profitable business on the world. Millions of people not only loved his products, but liked him as well. He’s one of the few CEOs who has ever had flowers placed outside his residence after death. And he’s one of the few people who could ignore common courtesy and still be successful.
My advice: let the contradiction be what it may–kindness will go much further than rudeness. Agreed?