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Timeless Principles: 6 Leadership Principles in Chapters 6-12 of “The Mary Kay Way”

By: Yvonne A Jones Category: Business - Home-Based Business, Direct Sales, Entrepreneur - Network Marketing

In my previous post I revealed 7 principles that I got from a review of Chapters 1-5 of The Mary Kay Way: Timeless Principles From America’s Greatest Woman entrepreneur.”  Today my review continues with timeless principles that can benefit small business owners, leaders in direct sales, entrepreneurs who outsource tasks, and every thought-leader who works with people; all from Chapters 6-12.

1.  Giving criticism: Criticism will most likely be made at some point but Mary Kay felt that a good manager should direct criticism to what’s wrong; not who’s wrong.

Managers must be strong and speak in a straightforward way, but should sandwich that criticism between praise – before and after.  Doing so lessens anger on the part of the recipient.  When people recognize that the good they do is appreciated, it makes them more willing to put effort in their work. Criticism should never be given in front of others as it’s cruel, but is also self-defeating.

2.  “People will support that which they help to create.” When you invite people to contribute to an idea and offer solutions they have a vested interest and feel responsible to ensure its success.  On the other hand, when you dictate even the most thoughtful and logical concept to someone they view it as a command and may or may not choose to cooperate enthusiastically.

3.  Follow-through: This requires discipline and planning.  Schedule time to return phone calls, reply to correspondence – regular mail or e-mails.  If you need to forward to a third party, make sure to follow-up to ensure that the matter has been handled.

4. Enthusiasm:  A good leader is enthusiastic and arouses enthusiasm.  It’s easy to be enthusiastic when everything is going smoothly but the challenge is to maintain enthusiasm under adverse conditions.  What you think about you bring about, so act enthusiastic and you will become enthusiastic.

5.  Lead by Example:  Mary Kay taught that the ‘speed of the leader is the speed of the gang.’  A good leader must present a good appearance as well as demonstrate good work habits. People often copy a leader’s work habits and self-discipline, for better or worse.  A good leader operates from experience not from theory.

6.  Help Other People Get What They Want: The goal  for being in business should be to service others and fulfill a need.  Some of the people served may be part of the organization, but in helping them to get what they want, you will also get what you want.

Which of these principles appeal to you most?

4 Comments to “Timeless Principles: 6 Leadership Principles in Chapters 6-12 of “The Mary Kay Way””


  1. Sheila Atwood says:

    I like to call criticism – evaluation. You are evaluating the situation. Then you always present your evaluation. This includes evaluating what is being done right.

    Evaluation is always given with very high affinity for the person. And you always teach them how it can be done better.

    I so totally agree that correction should be done in private. This includes the correction of children. It just plain and simple caring for the individual.

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  2. Evaluation sounds so much better than criticism, Sheila, and that takes away some of the negative connotation right away. Children are another matter! We often forget in the heat of the moment that they are people too (just little people) and should be shown respect. Discipline is one thing. Humiliating them is another!

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  3. Very interesting, I have also written a blog post about How to Give Criticism, see what you think.

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  4. I read your post. Great points and I especially liked the point that the purpose should be to help the person, not to humiliate them and the strategies to implement. It’s interesting that regardless how gently one may handles, because of our human nature, most people still have a degree of resentment when they are criticized. It’s a very fine line, wouldn’t you agree?

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