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How to Lose Friends (Employees) and Repulse People (Everyone Else)

By William P. Fisher, Ph.D.
March 2012

As historians will note, one of the books/programs that has had a profound effect on human relations and management thinking in the 20th century is How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. Hundreds of thousands of men and women from all walks of life have read Carnegie’s material and attended his classes. He performed a tremendous service to society through his efforts.

The laws of physics hold that for every action there is equal and opposite reaction. If that is true in the field of science, what is the reaction to Carnegie’s principles? The answer to that question presents an opportunity to tell you how to lose friends (employees) and repulse people (everyone else).

Be acerbically hypercritical. Nothing, absolutely nothing, is right. Everything you see, you encounter, you experience is a total mess. Chastise people long and loud for being part of the mess and let them know in emphatic terms that only you can set things right. They have made blunder after blunder and you have to correct the chaos they’ve created.

Stress the unimportance of individuals. In all your relationships, treat people cavalierly, demean their existence, peel away their self esteem, denounce their efforts, and minimize their contributions. Make them feel degraded, oafish, and replaceable at the snap of a finger. Make them feel like a disposable commodity, each one identical to the other.

Make constant use of the word “I.” “I did this!” “I did that!” I told you so!” “I am the one!” I deserve it!” You see the point. Talk about yourself exclusively. Never focus on the needs, desires, aspirations, achievements, or dreams of others.

Frown. Present a dour demeanor, an angry image, and a sullen countenance to everyone everywhere. Project your irascibility and emote your irrationality. Revel in your reputation as possessing a volatile temperament and a morose modality, and then live down to it.

Forget names. Never call anyone by name, and only speak to people when absolutely necessary. On occasion, call people by the wrong name so you can convey to them that they are so insignificant that you do not even recognize or recall their identity. They are non-persons as far as you’re concerned; just a part of the environmental clutter.

Eliminate courtesies and compliments. The words “please,” “thank you,” and “you’re welcome” should be eradicated from your lexicon. Never tell people that they are doing a good job, reaching their goals, or wearing an attractive article of clothing. Be dictatorially directive and terse in your communications.

Talk, don’t listen. When meeting people or participating in a group, be sure to dominate the conversation by talking incessantly about what interests you, and about your ideas. Interrupt others when they start to say something, and always one-up them with “I’ve got a better idea” or “that won’t work, but let me tell you how to do it right.” Never listen, always attempt to glisten.

Be argumentative. Seek to create strife, controversy, discord, and disharmony by being truculent, authoritarian, and demanding. Be constantly critical, irrationally stubborn, and ham-fisted. Inflame situations, blow things out of proportion, and cultivate pettiness and self-interest. Create heat, not light; the hotter the better.

Tell others they are wrong. Initiate relationships by getting others to say no to as many things as you can. Keep them on the defensive by insisting they are incorrect in what they are saying or doing and be negative to any ideas or suggestions they bring forward. Dismiss their efforts and work as trivial and set about changing it completely. Never admit it when they are right, just keep up the fight.

Never admit you’re wrong. Even when you realize it, don’t admit it. Rationalize it, twist the situation, deny it, and refuse to go half way. Harden your position, be inflexible, illogical, and obtuse. If all else fails, change the subject quickly to an area where you are right and transfer their recognition of that to the first situation.

Don’t allow people to save face. Disgrace them! Humiliate them! Kick them when they are down. Grind them into the ground, extolling their mistakes, proclaiming their weakness, and exclaiming the absence of any redeeming virtues. They have only vices, and treat them accordingly. If you do these things, you will most certainly lose friends (employees) and repulse people.

William P. Fisher, Ph.D. is the Darden Chair in the Rosen College of Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. A former CEO of the National Restaurant Association and the American Hotel and Lodging Association he is the recipient of numerous awards including the CHRIE Educator of the Year and the Michael E. Hurst Award for Educational Excellence, and is a Diplomat of the National Restaurant Association's Educational Foundation. An author and noted speaker, he serves on corporate boards in concert with his consulting assignments. A former U.S. Air Force Officer, he is a graduate of the Cornell School of Hotel Administration and a member of Cayuga Hospitality Advisors.

Reprinted with permission from Cayuga Hospitality Review.  All rights reserved.


Cayuga Hospitality Advisors

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Also See: Motivators: Understanding Conditions that Affect Human Behavior - Tools for Personnel Management / William P. Fisher. Ph.D. / August 2011

Six Ways to Identify a Company in Decline; Wise business lessons learned from a social psychologist - not a financial analyst / William P. Fisher. Ph.D. / April 2011

Do You Think Like a Leader or a Manager? / William P. Fisher. Ph.D. / October 2009

A Wake Up Call, The Shadow of 9/11: Terrorism and Premises Liability for Hotels / Carroll Dubuc / September 2009

You Need to Reset Your Exit Strategy / Jim Burr / September 2009

The Electronic Guestroom / Jules A. Sieburgh / September 2009

LEADERSHIP: The Basis for Management / William P. Fisher Ph.D. / September 2009

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