Tips to Change People without Giving Offense or Resentment


Influencing others and facilitating change is an essential skill in the business world. However, navigating this process without causing offense or resentment can be challenging. Drawing inspiration from Dale Carnegie's timeless principles in "How to Win Friends and Influence People," here are some valuable tips to change people by maintaining positive relationships.

1. Begin with Praise and Honest Appreciation

Start any conversation with genuine praise to set a positive tone. Highlight someone's strengths before suggesting changes to make them more receptive. This approach boosts their confidence and shows that you value their contributions.

2. Indirectly Point Out Errors

Instead of directly criticizing someone's mistake, guide them to the realization indirectly. This method encourages self-reflection without feeling attacked. For instance, you can say: "I've noticed a few areas where we might be able to improve. Have you considered approaching this task from a different angle?"

3. Talk About Your Own Mistakes First

Admitting your own errors before addressing others can create a sense of humility and empathy. Demonstration of making mistakes is a human experience and opens the door for constructive dialogue. For instance, you can share your experiences facing similar issues and ways to overcome that problem.

4. Ask Questions Instead Of Giving Direct Orders

Framing suggestions as questions rather than commands can inspire cooperation and ownership. This technique empowers individuals to think critically and feel involved in the decision-making process. For instance, ask your friends or colleagues what they think about trying a different strategy for any task.

5. Let the Other Person Save Face

Allowing someone to have their dignity even when they make a mistake is critical. Avoiding humiliation promotes respect and maintains the working connection.  For instance, you can use the sentence: "I recognize that this is a difficult issue, and I believe in your ability to turn things around."

6. Praise the Slightest Improvement and Praise Every Improvement

Recognizing even the tiniest progress inspires perseverance and motivation. Consistent positive reinforcement boosts confidence and improves performance over time.  For instance, "I've seen you've made significant progress on this project. Keep up the wonderful work."

7. Give the Other Person a Fine Reputation to Live Up To

Expressing your high expectations and confidence in someone's abilities can inspire them to rise. This method leverages the power of positive expectation.

8. Use Encouragement

Motivational encouragement can help someone overcome their obstacles. Encouragement fosters a supportive environment in which individuals feel appreciated and motivated to succeed. So, encourage your friends and colleagues at every step to let them be more productive.

9. Make the Other Person Happy About Doing the Thing You Suggest

Frame your suggestions in a way that is consistent with the other person's interests and aspirations. People are more likely to accept the change when people recognize the personal or professional rewards.


This article is part of our Business Coaching blog series. At Dataczar we talk to a lot of small businesses. We’ve found a few books that we keep recommending time and again. To better help our customers, we’ve added a Reading List for Small Businesses to our website. We encourage every small business owner to read and keep these timeless business books on their office shelf.