“Don’t do that!” – is a statement I hear very often. Unfortunately, I use it too when I am at work, home or with friends. The thing is that I see many wasting energy and time on things they should let go of or do differently (in my opinion).
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, how much wisdom you’ve assembled through years of experience – no one is prepared to like or accept your don’ts. Not willingly anyway.
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’ts make us rebel. What is deep inside this rebellion is mistrust. And not necessarily doubt in you, simply suspicion that what might have worked for you will not necessarily work for them.
But it would be best if you still made other change their ways. You want people around you to improve, to grow, to achieve positive things in life. So, the key to making others transform is to convince them that the change will work for them. How do you do that? By explaining the benefits.
# Instead of “don’t do this reporting anymore, it is of no use”, get together 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. Show clearly (numbers and facts) that there is no benefit.
# Instead of “don’t’ socialize with those people, they are scumbags”, state the reality of how many they have hurt.
You can make people take action by showing the benefits (or the lack of them). Not by imposing. That implies that you need to invest some thinking and get the facts right to support your advocating. But that’s all right – that will build your knowledge and help you become a trustworthy leader.