Truth be told, even the most resilient among us can think of a time when we’ve resisted change. If we can figure out what’s behind our reactions, we can move toward making more intentional decisions rather than being led by our emotions.
Leadership is about change, but what is a leader to do when faced with ubiquitous resistance? Resistance to change manifests itself in many ways, from foot-dragging and inertia to petty sabotage to outright rebellions.
Rosabeth Moss Kanter in Ten Reasons People Resist Change
Let’s start out by agreeing that some change is good. Those of us who are recruiters or salespeople are paid to create change every day. If no one accepted a new job or businesses were unwilling to engage a new vendor, there would be no commercial economy. That’s the kind of change we can appreciate and support.
When Change Is Not Appreciated
Resistance can crop up when leadership has a vision for the future that requires new behaviours or a shift in priorities from the general population. Even with the most communicative and caring management, employees may feel that the suggested changes are unfair or will create an undue burden. This can be even more keenly felt in organizations that have a culture of collaboration; of bottom-up management.
How To Be Part Of The Solution
There’s an old saying that if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. This was never truer than inside organizations in the throes of change. It takes a concerted effort from all to create a different future; there’s no neutral position. These three thoughts may help you shift away from feeling like a victim to move toward agent behaviour.
- Be Open
- Be Curious
- Be Honest
When we decide we’re against an idea, we often miss important information that’s available. See if you can find any communications that you initially glossed over. Read them again. Talk to colleagues.
Ask additional questions. Don’t stop with a superficial understanding of what’s happening. Book additional time with your manager. You may find there are opportunities that weren’t initially evident.
Don’t try to mask your distaste for the situation. If you’re struggling with it, say so. Pretending that you’re doing fine while secretly wishing the whole thing will go away won’t serve you or your team well.
I hope this material has been helpful to you in some way. Don’t feel done with the topic yet? Here are three additional articles on dealing with change at work.
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