Resistance to Change–to Moving Forward
Article written by Suzanne Conroy, M.Ed., CTI, ICF
We are all going through this ebb and flow of monumental change throughout this pandemic. Some of our colleagues/family/friends go through it with reasonable ease and some with deep resistance.
Resistance is likened to a grieving process involving a chain of transitional events triggered by the perception of loss (Katombe, 2018). I have observed this in organizational cultures where staff grieves what was and consequently resists what is – or what’s going to be. COVID-19 is an easy example of this resistance where staff is grieving what was. But organizations cannot survive in grief. We can’t control what happens “out there,” but we can control what happens in ourselves and, consequently, how we lead to enable the organization to move forward.
In a study, when employees set aside worries about things outside of their control and focused on matters they could influence—i.e., reach acceptance—workers’ productivity was at its highest levels (Katombe, 2018). Acceptance doesn’t mean you have to like it. None of us like that we’re in a pandemic – but for the most part, we accept it and find ways to move forward and even embrace the ripple effect of the pandemic i.e.: more family time, trying new things, more time for introspection, etc. Connecting to acceptance when resisting change doesn’t allow one to stall and feel sorry for themselves but truly allows one to move on and forward. I can’t tell you how many times I have repeated and enacted acceptance for myself and my clients and the difference it makes in their lives and their workplace with their productivity and ability to adopt a mindset of growth.
Some more strategies for minimizing resistance to change, set expectations, be consistent with your messaging, have an unwavering belief and their potential, and listen – really listen.
Katombe, M. (2018). The Effect of Leadership on the Resistance to Change in an Organization. OD Practitioner, 50(3), 47–55.
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