As behavior modification goes, guilt and its partner shame are effective – albeit demoralizing – tactics for getting people to fall in line. The feeling of guilt is caused by making someone believe they have done something wrong and that they should blame themselves for it. The bad experience is the impetus for that person to conform to the “right” way next time. One way to influence change is to induce guilt.
Any behavior we use to convey judgment of someone else has the potential to induce guilt. A stern reprimand, a disgusted eye roll, an incredulous look, a snicker. The key is to make the person feel bad for stepping out of the norm, going against group values, or breaking the rules.
People generally don’t want to be around others who make them feel guilty all the time, so I don’t recommend this as a long-term influence strategy. However, we all induce guilt from time to time without necessarily thinking about it, mainly because it tends to work in small doses.
This one was not originally included, but belongs on the list of Everyday Influence Tactics Not Found in Leadership Books.
Read more of the 99 Ways to Influence Change.