Change Management Training Step 5: Manage Resistance

Think of Resistance to Change as Sort of Like Body Temperature

You can expect a certain amount of resistance, at least from some people. Human nature is predictable enough for us to expect that certain employees will not readily embrace the changes.

The main key to managing resistance effectively is to actually invite it. Get it out into the open. Then, at least, you are in a position to analyze it and work toward overcoming it.

Sometimes you can reduce the resistance by giving subordinates a good understanding of the rationale for the changes. If they understand what the alternatives were, and the tradeoffs that were involved, the better they can buy into the situation.

Also keep in mind the fact that resistance is “diagnostic”—that is, when employee resistance becomes extreme, something is not being done right. Maybe you personally need to change the way you are operating. Ask yourself if you’re providing the right role model for subordinates. Is your own resistance to change too obvious? Or perhaps you need to tell higher management that certain changes aren’t working.

Up to a point, resistance isn’t necessarily bad. You might think of resistance to change as being sort of like body temperature . . . it can go too high, or too low. When resistance is too high, there will be casualties—for example, people quit, productivity is crippled, and so forth. If resistance is virtually nonexistent, it may mean your organization is overstabilized and too complacent.