With the highly competitive environment that businesses function in, in today’s economy, there is a need to constantly expect and prepare for change. In order to be an effective leader, managing resistance to change is essential and key to the success of the business and change initiative. In fact, the biggest reason for the failure of a change initiative is resistance to change!
Resistance can be defined as an action or inaction towards change and can be displayed by both employees and leaders. Here are 5 tips on how to manage resistance to change:
- Do Change Management right the first time
While some resistance to change is inevitable during the change initiative, managing the change in a structured manner right from the beginning can help to alleviate some of the resistance. This involves the Change Manager actively engaging their employees in the change initiative.
- Expect resistance to change
As humans, we can adapt to change but it is often an uncomfortable process. Due to this, the Change Manager and Project Team should address resistance to change in order to alleviate it, but they should never be surprised by it.
- Address resistance formally
Part of the Change Management Approach on a change initiative involves taking proactive steps to address and alleviate the resistance to change. Prosci proposes a three Phase Change Management Process, which entails:
- Phase 1: Preparing for change
- Phase 2: Managing change
- Phase 3: Reinforcing change
- Identify the root causes of resistance
With any problem ever experienced, on a business or personal level, identifying the root of the issue is always essential. While symptoms of resistance to change may appear more obviously than the root cause of it, focusing on the symptoms will prove ineffective to actually managing resistance to change.
- Engage the “right” resistance managers
Leadership plays a hugely important role in managing resistance to change. It’s the classic “talk the talk, walk the walk” story. In order to demand certain behaviours from their employees, organisational leaders MUST set an example by displaying the same behaviour. In fact, a lack of doing this can often create resistance among employees, as they have no one to lead by example.
Following these five successfully proven strategies can certainly help to understand, manage and ultimately mitigate resistance to change within your business.