Merge's Blog

Reducing employee resistance to change – one approach

Following up on last week’s well-received strategy on leading successful change, here is my next piece of advice in this ongoing series, this time on how to overcome resistance to change from your employees.  The reality is that when employees perceive the change initiative to have a negative impact at a personal level, resistance to change is very common.  What is not as well recognized is that this resistance to change is a very normal reaction.  But that doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything as a leader to reduce that resistance to change.  In fact, quite the contrary!

Seek to reduce uncertainty

One idea: reduce uncertainty, particularly in terms of how the change affects your employees at an individual level.  Take the time to speak with each of your staff, individually if possible, and help them gain an understanding of what the change will mean to them.  Uncertainty, left unchecked, transforms into fear, so anything that you can say to reduce that uncertainty will have a positive effect.

When any sort of a change initiative is first announced, your staff are wondering about things like – will I have to learn new stuff, will this affect my workload, will I now report to someone else, will I still have a job? – and all of these cause anxiety.  So take the time to fill in the blanks for them.  Now sure, you won’t always have all the answers yet, but tell them what you know.  Some certainty is better than none at all!  Be forthcoming and honest, and in particular, make it a point to share any positive outcomes.  Anything that you can do or say to reduce uncertainty means that you’ll be better able to overcome your employees’ natural resistance to change.

I have more ideas on this subject of reducing to resistance to change, and you’ll see another tip next week, but in the meantime, as always, I want to know what you think of today’s suggestion.   Does it make sense?  How hard is this to do?  Would love to hear your perspectives, so please comment below.

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