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How to manage resistance to change

Do you ever feel frustrated when the people on your team resist a critical organizational change?

If so, you are not alone. It can be hard for leaders to manage so much change at work and then have to deal with resistance as well.

But the reality is that resistance to change, even a positive change, is normal.


Well, organizational change often affects a person’s job, impacts their efficiency, and can make their life more frustrating…at least in the short term. Plus, humans are programmed not to change. We crave consistency. We like to feel competent and capable. Many change initiatives trigger the opposite. They cause feelings of uncertainty, risk, and fear of the unknown.

Don’t underestimate the impact that change has on people.

Put yourself in their shoesSo, rather than judge the resisters, put yourself in their shoes.

Instead of just considering the big picture when implementing change, view the change from their perspective. Think about how the change affects their lives.

This will help you to manage and communicate the change more sensitively and effectively.

Taking a thoughtful approach to communicating change can significantly decrease the resistance to change.

So, here are some important questions that you can ask yourself before you communicate and implement a new change on your team:  

  • What are the benefits of this change for this person?
  • What might be stressful for them when this change is implemented?
  • What can I do to overcome this stress trigger for them?

So, if you want to reduce the resistance to change, pause, assess the change from multiple perspectives, and then thoughtfully discuss it with your team.

After all, to quote Wayne Dyer, “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

Vanessa Judelman

Vanessa Judelman is an author, coach, and sought-after leadership expert. Over the past 20 years, she has created a proven formula to develop results-oriented leaders who feel empowered and confident in their job. Vanessa is the author of Mastering Leadership: What It Takes to Lead in Today’s Fast-Paced World. Order your copy here.

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