A Personal Personnel Affair

by MICHAEL WEBER
As an educator for 31 years, I believe the most successful way to help a negative person want to change takes place on an individual and personal basis. These are the ways I try to effect behavioral change in others:

* Form a problem-solving alliance with a negative person so you can help the person see possible positive solutions to his or her problems.

* Find the energy to listen carefully and jot down a negative person’s main points. By recording them, you will help prevent the person from recycling it again. When someone does recycle a critical comment, you can point out that it was already shared with you, and ask if he or she has any other information you should know.

* Tactfully interrupt to help elicit specifics. Vague problems are rarely solvable. Go through main points and obtain specific information.

* Shift the focus to solutions. Ask: What do you want? Why? How will this help the problem? Are there other solutions?

* Show the person the future by helping him or her to have something to look forward to.

* Refrain from solving their problems for the person. You can’t. What you can do is reframe and ask if he or she has any positive workable solutions.