frank's blog

“How to Be a Mensch” by Bruna Martinuzzi

Posted in ideas by aldorf on January 29, 2010

Twelve resolutions on How to Be a Mensch by author Bruna Martinuzzi. Her latest book The Leader as a Mensch: Become the Kind of Person Others Want to Follow. It’s still January, so enough time to adjust your 2010 life. (via

  1. Give people gifts other than those that you buy. This means giving someone a second chance, giving someone the benefit of the doubt, and giving others a reason to want to work for you besides earning a living. It entails giving others latitude, permission to make mistakes, and all the information they need to do the job. It means giving them the authority that goes with that responsibility and giving them due credit for their ideas.
  2. Become a talent hunter. The biggest hunger in anyone’s eyes is the hunger for appreciation. Genuinely acknowledging others is high octane fuel for the soul.
  3. Sharing ideas and information that can enrich. To that end, derive inspiration from Charles Leadbeater’s words: “In the past, you were what you owned. Now you are what you share.”
  4. Spend more time in the “beginner’s mind.” This means replacing “Been there, done that” with “Tell me more.” It translates into moving away from pushing into allowing, from insecure to secure, and from seeking approval to seeking enlightenment. It’s forgetting about being perfect and enjoying being in the moment.
  5. Don’t tell people what they can’t do. Instead, show them what they can do. If some of your habitual phrases are “Let me explain why that won’t work” or “Let me play Devil’s Advocate for a minute,” read Tom Kelley’s book The Ten Faces of Innovation: Ideo’s Strategies for Beating the Devil’s Advocate & Driving Creativity Throughout Your Organization.
  6. Minimize the space you take up. When you enter a crowded coffee shop with a partner, don’t hog two tables to spread your papers around. It’s a form of theft.
  7. Become a relationship anthropologist. Know the difference between a conversation and a discussion. A discussion involves issues or right vs. wrong. It is an exchange of facts, opinions and data. A conversation involves an exploration of another person for the sole purpose of learning about that person.
  8. Be happy for others. The exact opposite of the word envy is farginen, which is what happens when you celebrate others’ accomplishments as you would celebrate your own. Take a moment to absorb the spiritual beauty of this concept by viewing this video clip that explains theGenerosity of Spirit.
  9. Get rid of grudges. Whether they are for real or imaginary slights, raise the bar on your own behavior by forgiving and moving on.
  10. Help others caress the rainbow. This means show them how to have hope. There is tremendous positive psychological capital to be gained if we are resolute to tap into it to help others.
  11. Make people feel better about themselves. We cannot control everyone liking us, but we can control how others feel when they interact with us. Do others feel better about themselves after they spend time with you?
  12. View all promises you made in 2009 as an unpaid debt. Promises imply trust, but trust is fragile. It’s like a Christmas tree ornament—one slip can shatter it. And we all know that once it’s shattered, it’s very difficult to put it back together.

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