How to #3 Minimize Resistance to Change at the Workplace
In this segment of my blog series, I have combined two areas that have a natural association.
- Convincing your team of the need for change (minimizing resistance)
- Effective continuous communication during the change process (accepting feedback & eliminating confusion)
The most difficult aspect of Change Management is convincing people that the change will bring value not only to the end-product or service, but to them as an individual. In this issue of my blog series, I will share ideas for minimizing resistance.
It is not often easy to understand where resistance stems from, but it is generally some form of personal fear;
- How will this affect my job?
- What if I don’t have the right skills?
- Loss of control – I already know my job, what will I have to learn?
- We have always done it this way, why does it have to change?
As a leader, it is a critical step to recognize that resistance is normal, first reactions are usually driven by emotion (especially “how will this affect ME”). It may require a number of communication efforts to pin-point the specific behaviors in your team, those that surface as resistance to change. This knowledge will prove invaluable to effectively start “The Conversation”; reducing or removing as many of their fears and concerns as possible and gaining their trust. Staying informed of employee concerns will help leadership dispel rumors that can quickly slow or even reverse progress.
Accepting Feedback & Eliminating Confusion
The next critical step to manage change is continuing “The Conversation”; it should be often, open and demonstrate continued management support by; answering questions, asking for employee input, encouraging participation and showing appreciation of their contributions.
- Change whether it be company-wide, or a single department must not be thrust on employees during a time when other significant initiatives are in play.
- Introduction of multiple projects all at once will most likely cause substantial confusion, as will ill-planned improvement projects that require multiple adjustments.
- Special consideration should be given to past projects, that were handled poorly by; communicating managements recognition of the breakdowns and determination to do it better this time. These efforts will go a long way to relieve employee resistance.
Successful change includes the use of various management tools:
- Posting calendars of planned projects, giving everyone that may be affected a “heads up”
- Posting status of the project(s)
- Inviting (where possible) employees to see the improvements as they are rolled out
- Posting a list of project managers or administrators that employees can freely engage of they have ideas, questions or fears
A well-planned and well communicated improvement program will achieve a smooth transition for change and create a Win-Win situation for all. The work environment will take on an atmosphere of reciprocal support with significant employee acceptance and encouraging volunteerism for the planned changes.
I’ll be back soon to share my experience and talk about; Managing the scope of the change (maintaining control). Thank you for sharing your time and hope you’ll check back in.