Three Ways to Handle PeopleHow to Earn Cooperation

Your sister has a serious drinking problem which is ruining her life. Her husband left her and her children are being neglected. You and your other family members decide to meet with her to get her to stop drinking.

Your brother wants to use “tough love.” He thinks everyone should be mean to her and criticize her, “. . . for her own good.”

Your other sister wants to force her into a rehab program. She wants to find someone who will come kidnap her. She says, “Maybe if they give her some kind of an injection, she’ll go quietly.”

You don’t feel comfortable using either approach and feel there must be a better way. You want to give your sister the power and confidence she needs to stop drinking.

Three Methods

To understand the three ways to handle people, read these three definitions:

1. Enhancement: to improve or make greater
2. Domination: to control with authority or power
3. Nullification: to make something invalid

Mr. Hubbard writes:

“The methods of handling others could be assigned to three general categories. The highest category would be one of enhancement, where the individual seeks by example and good reasoning to lift the level of those around him to the point where they will partake of the projects of living with him.”

“The second category would be that of punishment drive, or domination. Here the individual uses alarm, threats and the general promise of pain unless compliance is given by the others around him.”

“The third category is that of nullification, wherein the individual seeks to minimize individuals.” “This category would rather see a man sick than well, because sick men are less dangerous than well men, according to the ‘thinking’ that takes place on this band.” — L. Ron Hubbard from the book, Science of Survival

For example, if you have a boss that manages you with the NULLIFICATION method, he wants you to be a slave. To make you feel you are nothing, he says, “Sometimes you’re as stupid as a bag of hammers.” The less alive you feel, the less of a threat you are to him, and the more easily he thinks he can control you.

If your boss uses the DOMINATION method, he wants to overpower you. He says, “Get your work done by noon or you’re fired!” He might also lie and say, “I can’t afford to pay any bonuses this year.” He wants you to feel afraid of him, at all times.

A boss that handles you with the ENHANCEMENT method lifts you up. He sets an excellent example. He explains things to you. He makes you want to work. He says, “Let’s make this one of our best days ever, okay?” “I can get 50 files done in a hour. Can you?” “If you get the project done before you go home, I’ll bring us donuts in the morning!”

Tough Love

“Tough love” is not loving. It includes NULLIFICATION. “We love you, but you’re a total idiot! You’ve ruined your life and your kids’ lives. If you don’t change, we’re never speaking to you again!”

Trying to change or improve someone with DOMINATION or force always backfires. For example, if you force your alcoholic sister into a rehab program against her will, she might cooperate at first. But sooner or later, she will rebel and either drink more than ever or refuse to speak to you again.

The staff of “boot camps” for difficult children say that they force kids to straighten up. Their “therapy” includes beatings, sleep deprivation, emotional abuse and public humiliation. However, these domination and nullification approaches do not work. In fact, the U.S. Justice Department reports these boot camps are as bad as prison, and that none of the children get better and many get worse.

True Love

To help your sister with the ENHANCEMENT method, have the intention is to improve her perception of the world; to increase her own control and responsibility for herself and her family; to help her live a better life. You use reason, respect and admiration.

You communicate. You have unlimited patience. You are friendly and optimistic.

“I love you and want to help you be happier and healthier. I’d like to help you be a great mother again. Can we have a private dinner tonight and just talk?”

You use logic. You carefully point out the good and the bad. You work out plans that your sister agrees to do.

For example, you start taking vigorous walks together. You talk on the phone each day. You have family events each month.

Even when she fails, you continue to try to help her, even if it takes years. You never punish or criticize her. Your love is stronger than the obstacles she faces.

She eventually recovers because you find and strengthen the good in her. You bring her up to your level and she decides to stop drinking and succeed.


1. Imagine how your life would be if everyone handled you with enhancement, not domination or nullification. Imagine how your family would be.

2. Imagine how your work would be if everyone there handled each other with enhancement and not domination or nullification.

3. Imagine a country where the government handled its people and other nations with enhancement, not domination nor nullification. What would the world be like if everyone did this?

4. Notice how people around you handle others. Do they try to nullify people? Do they dominate them? Or do they enhance them?

5. Notice how you handle others. Do you ever feel like nullifying people? Do you try to dominate certain people? How often do you handle others by enhancing them? What is the result?

6. Use enhancement as your main method of handling others for a few days. Use good reasoning and communication to get others to join with you. Even if you do not see immediate results, persist.

As a result, you will set a good example. You will help others succeed. They will support you and appreciate you.

You will make a giant leap toward your ultimate success.