Recently Ive been talking to a client about one of her direct reports. She had built up a pretty negative assessment of this person by taking his slight tendency toward self-promotion and expanding it, in her mind, into hes arrogant and self-promoting, and just wants to do land grabs from his peers. It was creating a kind of negative filter in her head about this guy: anything he did that even slightly supported her belief she pounced upon as proof; anything that didnt support it she dismissed as an anomaly. I think Ive been able to help her revise her beliefs about him to be more accurate and fair witness, so that she can see and support the good things he does, and give him balanced and useful feedback about the overly self-promotional tendencies he actually does have. Because of this and other similar situations Ive encountered, Ive been tyring to apply this learning to myself: thinking about good stuff I might be missing out on because of my unwarranted negative beliefs about people, groups, or points of view. And one of the first people who popped into my mind was poor, universally reviled Macchiavelli. I decided to question my negative assumptions about him and his message, and see whether there was anything useful, hopeful or high-integrity in what he had to say. Fifteen of my surprising findings are below.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikaandersen/2014/07/31/15-surprisingly-great-leadership-quotes-from-macchiavelli/