Ways To Overcome Resistance To Change
Not everyone likes change. Whilst there are those who claim to enjoy it, changes can leave many feeling oddly out of sorts and positively uncomfortable. Perhaps finding out what resistance to change is all about, can help someone learn how to embrace it. After all, in life, change is one of the things that are inevitable.
Any deviation from usual procedures, norms, and contracts in an organization is considered a change. Demonstrating how to manage and incorporate change time and again, is one main criterion for attaining success in any organizational setting.
Effective and smooth implementation of change is important in any workplace. It’s from change that strategies are developed. As human beings are naturally creatures of habit, it is usual to encounter occasional resistance. To implement change in the simplest possible way organizations should keep this mind and even be ready to counter and manage change resistance.
It is in the role of superiors and managers to guide the workforce through transition phases and to offer resolutions for these kinds of personnel complications. Without the means to voice any frustrations employees can fall into making their reaction to change an explicit resistance in the form of boycotts, protests, condemnation, or by simply failing to agree to conform to new expectations and carry out new work practices.
Why Is Change Resisted?
To deal with resistance to change in an efficient way, it is important to acknowledge the exact reasons for it. Some of the main causes include
- The idea of learning new things not being welcomed by all staff, as they see no value for themselves in the change and believe their usual methods are easier
- They feel insecure about new roles and responsibilities that come with a change and feel threatened by those with new authority
- Some staff are naturally risk-averse the first to resist. This can also be attributed to a shortage of ingenuity, confidence, or determination.
What Is The Best Approach To Handle Resistance To Change?
1. Engage In Worthwhile Conversation
Be it with one person or a group, open communication in the workplace is the best route to processing change. The first step is to let the personnel express their concerns in a safe and responsive environment. Being seen as an effective listener is a significant step towards simplifying the situation.
Such conversations will bring to light the basis for why they are reluctant to adopt a certain change in the organization and the transition phase can be modified for better acceptance. This brings reluctant staff on board and demonstrates their options and concerns have value within the organization.
2. Explain The Motive
Effective communication involves communicating concepts and information so that all are univocal about the structure, if not all the details, of the idea. The workforce will remain resistant to change as long as they remain uninformed about the real motives for the alterations in what was acceptable before.
It is the responsibility of the managers to communicate the motivations for a change while highlighting the goals and benefits for all that can be achieved. How resistant the workforce stays depends on how successful the management are at explaining the reasons behind it.
3. Workforce Involvement
The workforce is less likely to resist a new change if they feel involved in the planning and the actual transition. They need to understand all its pros and cons. Feeling involved in the whole process from start to finish cements the idea of being part of the team.
As long as the process is engaging, resistance is less likely. After all, a change is just as good as the workforce adopting it.
4. Organizational Culture
Each organization cultivates and preserves a unique culture, which provides rules and limitations on the conduct of its workforce. This culture has a strong impact on the employees and translates into how they act and perform their roles. The ethos of an organization should be one in which employees feel they can speak and still remain valued for their contribution.
5. Implement In Phases
While the management should be communicative about the change before implementing it, apportioning the process of change in phases has been known to show better results. When one phase is successfully over and by celebrating the progress, moving on to the next phase is much easier. Change is not only met with less resistance but gathers momentum.
For employees, taking on one thing at a time creates less anxiety and therefore meets with less resistance. This step by step process also helps provide time to learn new skills or absorb new information further benefiting the whole organization.
6. Exercises To Manage Change
Resistance to change is more about managing sentiments and anxiety, rather than reason. There are physical exercises that can be very helpful for preparing people to deal with and cope better with change. These include breathing techniques, bouncing balls, arm movements, and stretching. Since exercise improves both the physical and mental state, it is always a good idea to include an exercise routine as part of the normal working day.
For employees, organizational change doesn’t have to bring stress & anxiety at work, not if it is handled in the right way. It’s being left not knowing what to expect that leaves employees frightened and suffering reduced job satisfaction from a heightened sense of job insecurity. There’s only one way to counter change resistance and that’s to deal with it before rumors take over. Employers, therefore, need to learn more about how to be open and transparent about the organizational changes they make that can affect for good or bad, on the working lives of those who depend on them.