Managing Resistance to Change

It is normal to experience resistance whenever there is change. Understanding that there will be resistance to change will help you anticipate resistance, identify its sources and reasons, and modify your efforts to manage the issues of change to ensure the success of your change efforts.

Resistance is actually healthy. Try not to react against it defensively. It is good for you because it makes you check your assumptions and it forces you to clarify what you are doing. You must always probe the objections to find the real reason for resistance. Many times, it comes down to personal fear.

As the leader, you must take the time to understand resistance and you may have to come at it from several different angles before it is conquered. You must understand what your employees are feeling, as well as thinking.
Ways to reduce resistance to change:

  1. Involve interested parties in the planning of change by asking them for suggestions and incorporating their ideas.
  2. Clearly define the need for the change by communicating the strategic decision personally and in written form.
  3. Address the “people needs” of those involved. Disrupt only what needs to be changed. Help people retain friendships, comfortable settings and group norms wherever possible.
  4. Design flexibility into change by phasing it in wherever possible. This will allow people to complete current efforts and assimilate new behaviours along the way. Allow employees to redefine their roles during the course of implementing change.
  5. Be open and honest.
  6. Do not leave openings for people to return to the status quo. If you and your organization are not ready to commit yourselves to the change, don’t announce the strategy.
  7. Focus continually on the positive aspects of the change. Be specific where you can.
  8. Deliver training programs that develop basic skills as opposed to processes such as: conducting meetings, communication, teambuilding, self-esteem, and coaching.