“Don’t do that!” – is a statement I often hear. Unfortunately, I use it too. The truth is that no one, not a child, adult or older person, likes to hear: don’t do that, change your way of thinking, change that, stop that, get things done, don’t waste your time, don’t make that mistake… It doesn’t matter how experienced you are or how much wisdom you’ve assembled through years of experience – no one is prepared to like or accept your don’ts. Not willingly, anyway. So, how about using logic instead of giving orders to convince others?
Just remember your reactions and feelings when your parents were preaching to you, when your boss was setting limits or when your friends were trying to advise you to change your ways. The don’t make us rebel. What is deep inside this rebellion is mistrust. People do not necessarily doubt you, simply suspect that what might have worked for you will not necessarily work for them.
But it would be best if you could still help others change their ways. You want people around you to improve, grow, and achieve positive things. So, the key to making others transform is to convince others that the change will work for them. So, how do you do that?
# Instead of “don’t do this reporting anymore, it is of no use”, gather the facts that only a few managers read it and calculate the time saved by stopping doing something most don’t value.
# Instead of “don’t invest in this…”, gather information on the returns on investment and how many have lost money. Convince others by showing clearly (numbers and facts) that there is no benefit.
You can convince others to take action by showing them the benefits (or the lack thereof). Not by imposing. That implies you must invest some thinking and get the facts right to support your advocacy. But that’s all right – that will build your knowledge and help you become a trustworthy leader.