What is resistance and how do you spot it?
Resistance to change is natural; it is like a human brake, a ‘digging your heels in’ as a form of control/power when it feels to someone like their power is being taken away or a change is too scary to contemplate. Resistance occurs in organisations and individually – inaction is the result.
Resistance is caused by people’s uncertainties about change not being answered or fears not being given ‘an airing’. Overcoming resistance depends on understanding it, anticipating it, working with it, rather than getting frustrated by it.
Resistance is caused by:
- Fear of change and not being good enough
- Fear of the unknown/uncertainty
- Poor communication
- No communication
- Changes to routine
- Low trust in a leader/organisation
- Misunderstanding about the need for change
- Perceived unfairness about the change e.g. loss of something valued
- Concerns re; loss of status, self-esteem
- Fear of failure
How can you spot resistance?
- Not listening/responding
- Testing leaders/assessing boundaries
- Missing meetings
- Not responding to e mails
- Arriving at work late
9 tips to handle resistance well
1. Plan for it, accept that it is normal/’information’
2. Listen to people’s concerns via focus groups and 121 conversations
3. Frame change positively within people’s values – what is important to them as an individual
4. Give people an opportunity to express themselves – help them feel heard
5. Plan time to consider the impact of change and how people may react
6. Invite opinion about change – involve people in shaping it
7. Provide support for big change; coaching & counselling
8. Pinpoint individually – what’s in it for them?
9. Communicate, communicate, communicate
What resistance is going on in my organisation/firm and how can I identify the cause?
“Resistance is thought transformed into feeling. Change the thought that creates the resistance, and there is no more resistance.”Robert Conklin
Rachel Brushfield is the Talent Liberator from Energise – The Talent Liberation Company. She is a career, talent and L&D strategist and coach and published author. Helping clients create, market and manage a portfolio career is a specialism.