ChangeIsInevitableTruth 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

Be Open
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.

Be Curious
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.

Be Honest
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.

The Risky Business Of Change
The Future Of Work 2.0
5 Questions To Sharpen Your Direction

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4 thoughts on “Learning To Be Okay With Change

  1. Many years ago in my first social work type job, my supervisor told me that the best thing I could do for the people I worked with was to create an avid sense of curiosity. Asking good questions isn’t just helpful for your own understanding, sometimes it’s the thing that helps other people figure out their own mind/path. I enjoyed this post a lot. 🙂

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  2. When people tell me “no one likes change (which is a blanket statement I hear a lot) I respond by reminding them that if that were true they would still be living at home with mum and dad, in their first job, dating their first love (but not married or living together) etc etc.

    We love change – on our terms. Really like be open, be curious, be honest. Wise advice.

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    1. Hi Tilla – So true. Do you think we use that line (no one likes change) as a defensive mechanism to explain why our mind is closed at the moment? I’ve always found it so interesting when people say that. Hope you’re having a great day on the other side of the world.

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