How to Deal With Resistance to Change in the Workplace


It’s no secret that people sometimes resist change. Employees tend to feel resistance to change due to fear of the unknown. They know their current position and how things were run so not knowing what and how the change will affect them often is the source of the resistance. However, when leaders interact with skill, they can turn the resistance into collaboration.

How to Overcome Resistance to Change in the Workplace

First – realize that their resistance is not real. Resistance is an emotional reaction. Not a real objection or concern. Resistance is mainly a fear.

The first step to dealing with resistance is to acknowledge rather than agree. Avoid agreeing with the resistance by saying things like “I agree”.
Acknowledge the employees’ worlds. Consider how they will be affected by the change. Ask them questions to understand the implications further. When employees are aware of what the change means wants and how the change will affect them personally. We’ve developed a best practice on how to acknowledge resistance to keep the conversation focused on results – click if you want to have leaders who can actually handle the resistance. Leaders please remain cautious about confidently supporting the changes happening without sharing the goals of the change. The leaders explain the ‘why and when’ the less resistance employees will experience.

Take Time to Listen

One of the first things that happens when a company announces change is people begin to panic. This is because of the lack of information. Employees may fear the change will cause their position to be eliminated. Take the time to listen to and answer employee questions. Ask a well-connected employee to help you understand the buzz so you have the inside scoop. The more knowledge and understanding everyone has, the less resistance.

Involve Employees

When you engage the employees in shaping the changes, they become collaborative and provide solutions to the unseen challenges and implications. Being a part of the change empowers employees and makes them much more likely to own the change rather than resist.

Meaningful Office Meetings

Regular meetings with employees to ask questions dn understand the change and the progress keeps employees in the know. Keep the employees informed and feeling in control. Allow employees to ask questions and supply honest answers. When you don’t know – say so. Ask them how they believe the implementation could be improved. If the questions of fear are addressed early on, you get a better outcome.

Meaningful Learning

If employees will have different jobs or their jobs are changing in any way, offer learning. Find internal staff to pilot or get the group together to create the new workflow. The more the employee help create their new job functions, the more ownership they will feel.

Everyone Deals with Change Differently

For some, change is frightening because it interferes with their security. For other people, change is something they thrive on so adjusting at work is easier.

Leaders Deal with Change Differently

Remember that the leaders themselves deal with change in their own way. The two greatest fears among leaders is that they say the wrong thing or say something they are not supposed to. So they say less than their teams need. Don’t be that leader. Share what you know. Be comfortable with not knowing, share what you do know, and share the progress.



Each person has a natural communication style.
Understanding yours can and will impact how effective you are when dealing with friends, co-workers and clients.