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Three Ways to Change People

It’s absurd to say we can’t change people.

The people in your story have changed you. You’re who you are, in part, because of them.

Influence is the power to produce change.

#1. If you want to change people, change what they believe about themselves.

If people believe in you, encourage them to believe in themselves.

  1. Explain the positive influence of their passion, strength, or behavior. “The influence of your (strength) on (name people) is (impact).”
  2. Avoid superficial compliments.
  3. Offer assessments based on character. “You’re loving, kind, tenacious, or forthright.”
  4. Accept that doing poorly comes before excellence. “What are you learning?”

(Read, “Mindset,” by Carol Dweck.)

#2. If you want to change people, tell them the truth.

Blindspots are deadly because they aren’t seen. 

Positive blindspots occur when people don’t see their strengths, value, or contribution.

Negative blindspots are imagined strengths, value, or contribution.

Blindspots – positive or negative – limit our reach and hinder our potential.

  1. Don’t bring sour to the table unless you’re prepared to add some sweet. Coach when you critique. Criticism apart from coaching is an arrogant power-play designed to put people down.
  2. Immediate feedback opens eyes to blindspots. Lights come on when you catch people in the act of offending behaviors. “You’re putting people on edge right now.”, for example.
  3. Explain their values based on their behaviors. “This is what I see you doing. Your actions indicate xyz is important to you.”

#3. If you want to change people, explain how they’re changing.

  1. “I notice you’ve improved the way you lead meetings.” (Skill)
  2. “This bothered you in the past. Now you’re great at it. Way to go.” Explain what you mean. (Character)
  3. “Your numbers are improving.” (Results)

You can’t change someone who refuses to change. Everyone else is fair game.

What’s troubling about the idea of changing people?

How might leaders change people?

Added after posting:

  1. If you want to change people, help them change themselves.
  2. If you want to change people, know where they want to go.
  3. If you want to change people, know who they want to become.
  4. If you want to change people, give them new information, strategies, or plans.
  5. If you want to change people, care for them.

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