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How to Minimize Resistance to Change

Why do we fight it over and over again!!!

Understanding how to minimize resistance to change can be very beneficial to many. Often we see managers get into a fire fighting mode once his or her superior asks to implement organizational changes that will have an impact on the human resources. They struggle and go on a "nice guy" journey! Strangely enough, they don't even think on how to minimize resistance to change, they only focus on ensuring that the changes actually get implemented!

Eliminating resistance to change, the old way!

At the first sign of resistance they will revert to their learned behaviour and will re-act by pushing harder....It's a normal human reaction, or at least one that we face in the material world all the time. I am sure that we all at one time in our life tried to fix something and faced some material resistance! What was your natural response to that resistance? I am sure that you simply applied more force to it. Most of the time you actually eliminated the resistance which resulted in your achieving the objective while other times, you either gave up or applied so much force that the material resistance actually gave away, but you made the situation worst because the piece broke! This reinforcement, at a variable interval explains why it's difficult to reverse this learned response. Understanding how to minimize resistance to change is in large, learning to control our well-rehearsed response.

In the world of Human Resources, this learned response can have some major repercussions such as not having the required support for achieving your objectives and therefore limiting your career advancement and your organization profits. Simply pushing harder is not the answer. If you've tried this method in the past and it worked, well, just note that the next time you will need to push harder and eventually it will break! From my perspective it's not a question of if, but when. Did you already loose one of your best employees? Why did he leave? After all people are going to implement the change, so why not concentrate your efforts on them!

How to minimize resistance to change.

Minimize resistance to change

From my experience and belief, the most important way to comprehend how to minimize resistance to change is to understand that the support needed should not start "during times of impactful organizational change", but should have already be in place pre-organizational changes! Trust is the answer! By nature, human will always resist further, changes that are being perceived negatively as oppose to the ones that are being positively perceived. Thus, you need to be connected with your staff and develop an authentic professional relationship and learn how to set your leadership vision, setting your leadership vision and will by extension minimize the resistance to change on your projects.

My observations

  1. The first interesting observable fact is that the perception from the affected individual (s) can differ, in both degree and intensity, from one person to another, for an identical "impactful event".

  2. The second interesting observable fact is that the higher the trust toward the person (s) responsible for the change from the affected individuals, the less the negative intensity will be. Accordingly, the "victims" will move through the phases of resistance to change a lot faster, thus requiring a lot less of the secondary support. Strangely enough, this trust will also allow the enforcer of the impactful changes more room for error, without increasing the intensity of the resistance to change. Impactful changes are personal and emotional and for that reason the support needed should reflect this reality. Appropriated support can and must be carefully orchestrated and must be applied mostly with art and a modest dose of science. Everyone in an organization is aware of the impactful events that could occur! We usually resist more the manner into which a change is implemented and/or the motive behind the changes, as oppose to the change itself!!

As we resist more the way changes are implemented as oppose to the change itself, it is normal to deem certain leadership styles to be part of how to minimize resistance to change. I'll let you guess which one it is!

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