How managers win their employees’ resistance to change

How managers win their employees’ resistance to change

Change is something that cannot be avoided sometimes. It is therefore obvious that most workers will not take change with glee and happiness. Manager ought to understand that there will always be some resistance to change. The truth is that people will choose comfort and stability over change, reason being they prefer what they are familiar with and know how to handle. It might be easy to live inside the comfort zone but change is prone to happen and it has to be dealt with. In the contemporary business world change is a norm that firms have to easily adjust to in order to have an upper hand over competitors.

The resistance to change is brought forth by many factors such as:

Fear of losing a job

Job loss is the main reason that workers oppose change in the workplace. In a company there might arise an innovation that increases the work of employees or reduces their role. Either way workers might not take the adjustment positively because it implies they have to work extra hard and smart to be safe. As this happen the employee is filled with tension which makes him/her choose to resist change instead.

Poor Communication and Engagement

Communication is key to ever barrier. However shortage of it creates more problems. The manner in which change is communicated to workers plays a crucial in determining how they will respond (Heathfield, 2019).  Employees are likely to resist change if they are not told clearly what need to be changed, how to go about it and the success they will reap from the transformation. It is mandatory for workers to understand the importance of a change, otherwise just throwing the notion that what they have been accustomed should be renovated completely cannot work.

Lack of Trust

Trust is essential in the running of a successful business. In a company where workers have trust in the management, they are likely to accept change easily. In most cases employees refuse change because they are not sure what the management is planning.

The Unknown

For companies that frequently experience moments where the future is unknown, there is a high probability that workers will respond positively to change. When the motion of change is brought up in such an instance everyone is caught off guard and surprised. And this makes the situation worse.

Poor Timing

Proper timing matters when trying to make adjustments. In most companies the reason why change is resisted is the time when it is proposed.

How to overcome resistance

1. Expect Resistance

It is advisable to be ready for some resistance. Managers should not expect change to be accepted, welcomed and supported by all members on board. Being prepared for whatever outcome is good. With this there will be a set plan to counter whatever will be thrown beck by the employees.

2. Identify where the resistance emanates from

At times to be able to curb a problem or menace one ought to know its source. First and foremost management should know the stand that their staffs take on a proposed changed. There are various signals reflected by workers that do not want to adopt new techniques. For instance they might protest, fail to attend crucial meetings or refuse to be part of some company’s initiatives. Good authority not only knows when resistance is developing into an issue but it also seeks to understand the source of that opposition.

After the reason behind a resistance has been know it becomes easy to decide on proper techniques to overcome it. For example, if the issue is fear or lack of awareness, good communication may be deployed to aid. It could also be possible that there is a history of proposed amendments failing and workers have no confidence that anything good can come from the change. In such a case the organization should discuss specific ways they have learned from previous blunders and how it intends to use this knowledge to implement the new proposal successfully.

3. Arrangement the team to maximize its potential

Assign appropriate responsibilities and roles to the team members for them to use their skills fully (Heathfield, 2019). Doing this will also encourage personal and team development. After the change initiative has been communicated, the weaknesses and strengths of each member should be considered. A manager should then hold one on one session to know how team members are best suited at aiding the change initiative and regard means through which the individual might be assisted on his or her weaknesses and at the same time continue taking advantage of the strengths. When such as scheme is deployed each team member will be more engaged.

4. Show passion

A manager should communicate passionately and show that he believes in the future of his vision. If workers see that the behavior of their leader emulates what change requires, they are prone to quickly adopt the behavior and even start advocating for the change. Employees are an emulation of their employer, so how you present yourself as a leader will determine the feedback you get from those looking up to you(workers). With this then change can only be expected only if the manager is the change.

5. Be persuasive

A leader should engage workers by being thrilled and motivated. Focus should not be put on asserting authority but rather on opportunities and persuasion. Employees should feel some connection with their leaders for them to have trust each other. Therefore a leader should learn how to tell stories in a manner that explains culture, brand and future visions while at the same time keep the conversation entertaining. Some people get bored when they sit for long hours in meetings, but if entertainment and recreational activities are deployed such people will be more engaged.

6. Empower innovation and creativity

Every staff member deserves an opportunity for feedback. The best creative ideas can come from the most unexpected individuals.  It is also advisable for the management to be flexible in altering its course towards the anticipated change. Managers should encourage their workers to be creative in discovering solutions that challenges unfold and be key stakeholders in the change process.

The fear of risks is something that should be eliminated in a company that wants to emerge successful.  Taking risks is dangerous but great good come from it. Leaders should get rid of fear of risk by portraying failure as an experience to learn. Employees should understand that failing is a stepping stone to greatness. The benefit of this is that a firm turns into a hub for innovative ideas where people develop their knowledge and expand their professionalism.


Heathfield, S., 2019.  How to Reduce Employee Resistance to Change. [Online] (updated 11 Aug 2019) Available at:<> [Accessed 11 Nov 2019].

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