Rule 98: Don’t damn the opposition with faint praise

Industrialist and younger brother to Billionaire Aliko  Dangote, Alhaji Sani Dantata 
last rule may have seemed as if we were approaching something underhand or
devious or ruthless.  It isn’t.  Everything has to be meant, genuine and
honest.  Don’t praise them.  Not unless you really mean it.  It is so easy to undermine someone by using
praise when you are actually being rather horrid and stitching them up. 

You may think this a clever approach.  It isn’t. 
You will be seen through immediately and come across as shallow,
vindictive and really rather ruthless. 
Remember Rule 30: If you can’t say
anything nice – then shut up?  Well, you may think that you can get away
with saying nasty things disguised as nice things but you can’t.  This is the sort of thing that is forbidden:

‘Oh, I know Bill is
brilliantly wacky, he is such an independent thinker, he really does operate
outside of the box, and he’s so original and off the wall’.

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you’re really saying: he’s a lone wolf is slightly mad and shouldn’t be trusted
supervising a chimps’ tea party let alone an entire department:
‘Bill is such a
determined worker.  He doesn’t care how
much it costs; he goes for the last detail of a job.  Superb resolution, He likes to see things
through to the very end. No matter what. 
I admire his ability to just not see the pound signs on a project and
instead focus on the application’.
you’re really saying: he should never be trusted with his own money, let alone
someone else’s:
‘Bill really is one
of the lads.  He really knows how to let
his hair down and have fun.  I admire his
ability to hold a pint.  If there’s a
wacky stunt going on Bill is always in the thick of it, he is such a free
spirit and so youth orientated’

 “Don’t get into this
trap.  Your seniors will see through it
and if they are decent people they aren’t going to like it”.

you’re really saying: he’s a drunk, a bit wild, not to be trusted looking after
staff and he has the mental age of a teenage:
‘We can’t keep Bill
in the office.  He’s such a live
wire.  I don’t think our little cage is
big enough for someone with that much energy. 
I envy him.  I sit here doing the
paperwork while he’s off, out there talking to customers and liaising and being
brilliant at sales’
you’re really saying: Bill is crap at paperwork.  Don’t get into this trap.  Your seniors will see through it and if they
are decent people they aren’t going to like it.
(Excerpts from THE
RULES OF WORK by Richard Templer Read “Capitalize on Career Enhancing Moments” from The Rules tomorrow on Asabeafrika)

Rule-to-Work Series


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