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HOW TO DEAL WITH RESISTANCE TO CHANGE IN THE WORKPLACE

A manager speaking to staff after learning how to deal with resistance to change in the workplace from Learn2

It’s no secret that people sometimes resist change at work. Employees tend to feel resistance to change due to fear of the unknown. They know their current position and how things are 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 deal with the resistance to change in the workplace, turning the resistance into collaboration.

HOW TO OVERCOME EMPLOYEES’ 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 to change is mainly a fear of the unknown.

The first step to dealing with resistance is to acknowledge their resistance rather than agree. Avoid agreeing with the resistance by saying things like “I agree”.

You can support your staff’s resistance by acknowledging the employees’ worlds, and considering how they will be affected by the change. Using effective communication, you can ask your employees questions to help them understand the implications of the change and how it may affect them personally.

BEST PRACTICES FOR HANDLING EMPLOYEES WHO RESIST CHANGE

We’ve developed a best practice on how to acknowledge resistance to keep the conversation focused on results and develop leaders who can actually handle the resistance. A good leader should remain cautious about confidently supporting the changes happening without sharing the goals of the change. The more leaders explain the ‘why and when’, the less resistance employees will experience. Follow these tips to help you handle employees’ resistance to change.

1. TAKE TIME TO LISTEN TO YOUR STAFF

One of the first things that happens when a company announces change is people begin to panic. This is often 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 regarding concerns that your team may have. The more knowledge and understanding everyone has, the less resistance there will be to workplace changes.

2. INVOLVE EMPLOYEES IN DECISIONS

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 it.

3. HOST MEANINGFUL OFFICE MEETINGS

When change is occurring at your company, hosting regular meetings where employees can ask questions and gain understanding around the change allows employees to stay in the know. Keep the employees informed and feeling in control, informing them why the change is happening. 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 will get a better outcome.

4. CREATE MEANINGFUL LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES

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

LEADERS DEAL 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.

When change occurs in the workplace, remember that the leaders themselves deal with change in their own way. The two greatest fears among leaders are that they say the wrong thing or say something they are not supposed to often saying less than their teams needs to hear. Often, doing this leads to increased resistance, with employees fearing the unknown.

ENCOURAGE OPEN COMMUNICATION IN TIMES OF CHANGE

When overseeing a change in the workplace, be comfortable with open communication with your staff, share what you do know, and share the progress to overcome challenges with resistance to change in the workplace.

About Author

Doug Bolger is the world’s foremost instructional designer for participant-driven designs. He is changing how the world works, by changing how the world learns.

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