How to Get a Return on Resistance and Use It to Your Advantage
Part 1 of 2
Your Guide to Spotting and Overcoming Resistance to Change in Your Organisation
Organisations, industries and the world of business as a whole are constantly evolving meaning that change is inevitable.
But with change often comes resistance, and with resistance comes a host of potential issues.
So how can you spot and overcome resistance among your staff?
What Does ‘Resistance to Change’ Mean?
Resistance to change is the unwillingness to adapt to altered circumstances.
The severity of staff resistance is heavily reliant on how the change is introduced, more so than what the change itself actually is.
Resistance to change can be overt or covert, collective or individual; some employees will explicitly/publicly challenge or question change, others may show resistance in other, more discreet, ways.
How Can Resistance Pose Problems if Organisations Don’t Mitigate It?
Resistance to change can harm organisations and teams in many ways if employers don’t look to mitigate it, including:
- A fall in productivity
If employees aren’t on board with the change, they likely won’t want to work hard towards it.
- A decline in quality
If employees don’t agree with the change and believe it won’t be successful, they may neglect the quality of their work.
- Broken communication
If employees aren’t consulted before a change is implemented, they may feel that their input isn’t valued and may therefore stop voicing their opinions.
- A lack of collaboration
If some employees are unhappy with the change, they may not want to collaborate with those employees that implemented or encouraged the change.
- Strained working relationships
If employees are stressed about the change, this can cause tension in the workplace and can make building or maintaining working relationships difficult.
Also, it’s important to remember that resistance is contagious; if a manager, for example, doesn’t agree with the change, then their team may also begin to question it, so it’s crucial to address and overcome resistance as soon as possible before it grows into a company-wide issue.
Why Do People Resist Change?
We all respond differently when faced with change, some of us embrace it and others fear it – and many resist it.
There are many reasons why people resist change, but four of the main ones are:
Some people fear that the change will impact them and their day-to-day role.
- Lack of trust
Some people don’t trust management to have staff’s best interests at heart and to make the right decisions.
- Different opinions
Some people think there are better ways of doing things.
- Attitude to change
Some people just don’t like change and find it extremely stressful.
How Can I Spot Resistance?
Different people show resistance in different ways – some verbally express their concerns, others stay quiet and keep their worries to themselves.
Even though we all show resistance differently, these are a few common behaviours you can look out for in your staff that can be indicators of resistance:
- Excessive criticism
- Increased negativity
- Missed deadlines/commitments
- Workplace conflicts
- Increased time off work
So How Can I Overcome Resistance?
We have put together a great PDF with our top tips for overcoming resistance, which you can download for free by following the link below.
Tomorrow, we will look at the positive side of resistance and reveal how you can get a return on resistance in your organisation, so keep an eye out for our next article!