Managing Change – Dealing with Resistance
Managing change continues to be one of the most important topics for managers today and the ability to help people through that process is critical. One of the traits of influential leaders is that they develop the skills to deal with something at the heart of change management: understanding and dealing with resistance to change.
The key to understanding resistance is to understand that it is an emotional rather than a rational, objective reaction. It is a predictable, natural and necessary part of change which we all experience to one degree or another. When we avoid or fight resistance we are actually hindering the process of change.
The way many of us deal with resistance is to try to overcome it with logical arguments and rational evidence. Unfortunately this often has the contrary effect of raising the resistance. It is impossible to talk people out of an emotional reaction in this way – we cannot talk people out of how they are feeling. We have to take a different approach and get people to express what they are feeling. A key trait of influential leaders is that they can step out of the first perceptual position and see other peoples viewpoints.
This can feel quite strange and uncomfortable because we are not fighting the resistance and therefore, can paradoxically feel we are not dealing with it. It is so important, however, to understand that fighting resistance always intensifies it while expressing and exploring the resistance without defending a position is the only effective way to help it to pass.
This is a difficult idea to accept but is the key to actually managing resistance in a constructive way.
This method of managing resistance includes 4 steps:-
Truly influential people work through these stages – they develop trusting relationships with staff, listen and empathize and have a willingness to alter their plans in the light of new information.
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