Here are EIGHT GOLDEN RULES FOR INSTIGATING CHANGE IN PEOPLE without giving them a hard time about it:
1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation
It is always easier for any one of us to accept criticism after we've received some praise. So if you wish to criticize, do it after you've given the person some honest praise and appreciation.
A manager noticed that his secretary was in the habit of not coming to work on time. He had also noticed that she is always very presentable in appearance. So he started, "you always dress very nicely, you do our company's image a lot of good." The secretary blushed and was flattered. He then said, "I would just appreciate it if you were more punctual." And from that day on she was as sharp as a clock.
2. Call attention to people's mistakes indirectly
It is a normal human trait to not take criticism easily, but there is a way by which you can criticize and not be hated for it. That way is to criticize indirectly.
A sales manager saw one day that his sales force in the store were chatting among themselves and didn't notice the woman that was waiting to be served. He did not call on them but rather served the lady himself and handed them the purchase to be wrapped. They got the message very clearly and appreciated his manner in dealing with the matter.
Another manager wanted to keep three employees from smoking indoors. He bought each one an expensive cigar, and handed the cigars to them while they were smoking. They were very happy with the gift. He then said, "could you just please smoke them outside?" Naturally, they never smoked indoors again.
3. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing
Another way to help people accept their mistakes and try to change is by humbly admitting that you yourself are not flawless. Before bringing their attention to their fault, mention the similar faults of your own.
An engineer's secretary used to often type his letters with spelling mistakes. Until one day when he received a letter that had mistakes, he sat her down and said, "being an engineer, I was never noted for my English skills, but because our letters give an impression about us I had to pay close attention to changing that fact about me. I started carrying around a pocket dictionary." They sat together and fixed all the spelling mistakes in that letter, and ever since she made significantly less spelling mistakes.
4. Ask questions instead of direct orders
People tend to dislike taking orders.
A very successful businessman was noted by his workers for never telling someone "do this", or "don't do that." He would always say things like, "you might consider…" or "what do you think about…" or "do you think this would work?"
Asking questions like that and not giving orders saves a person's pride and gives them a feeling of importance. It encourages cooperation instead of rebellion.
5. Don't hurt a person's pride
At a business meeting once an employee was to present a report to her boss and co-workers. She had made a mistake in her research and mentioned it and told everyone that the research needed to be redone. Her manager could have scolded her and criticized her mistake and hurt her pride in front of everyone present.
Instead, he said, "It is not unusual to make mistakes when working on a new project, I have confidence that the next report will be accurate and reliable, and I know that this mistake was due to lack of experience and not lack of ability." The woman walked out of the meeting determined to never let her boss down again.
Even when someone is definitely wrong, you will only destroy their ego by hurting their pride.
6. Praise the slightest improvement and be specific
When an employee has done a good job or improved in any way, take the time to recognize his or her efforts. Be specific, point out what it is exactly that made their work superior. Everybody likes to be praised but when it is specific it comes across as sincere, and not just something another person is saying to make one feel good.
Sincere and specific praise can work as an exceptional motivator.
7. Give the person a reputation to live up to
When you have something to ask of someone, start by giving them a reputation to live up to.
A sales person had finished an unsuccessful sales call with an existing client about a new product. He was very upset. He went back and said, "Since I left this morning I realized I did not give you the entire picture and I would appreciate some of your time to tell you the points I omitted. I have respected the fact that you are always willing to listen and are big enough to change your mind when the facts warrant a change." Naturally, he was granted another hearing.
8. Make the fault seem easy to correct
If you ever tell an employee that they are doing everything wrong or that they are stupid at doing a certain thing, then you've destroyed every chance that this person tries to improve. However, if you encourage them and tell them that it is easy and that they just need to develop the knack for it and show them you have faith in their ability, then they will try ten times as hard to do it right.
These rules don't guarantee that you will always get people to do the things you want but they sure will increase you chances. Again, and it cannot be stressed enough, all these rules must be applied with sincerity. That is the only way they can be effective.