How To Respond Resiliently When Your Team Resists Change

Not everyone will look forward to change as a good thing. Remember the four styles of change? Not all of the people who exhibit certain styles will be easily moved to accept what is going on in the company. While you can’t decide on their reaction for them, you can take a stand to act resiliently and hope that others follow suit.

Emotions are running high

When a new change is implemented at a company, everyone who is not directly involved in the decision can feel the pinch of another process or task encroaching upon them. You already know your place in the company – how to deal with and troubleshoot current systems, building relationships with your team members and where you want to move within the organization. All is right with the world.

When changes are imminent, even managers can go through a variety of emotional states. The first is probably doubt. From your point of view, all is fine. Why rock the boat? Your vision is not narrowed – it just isn’t as big as those who make the executive decisions that affect everyone. It is not unfamiliar to take the changes personally. Maybe you came up with the software system or workflow process that has been used but is now being replaced.

You may learn of changes before your team members. Take this time to process your emotional state to influence a more positive mindset. Now, face your team members and give them the announcement about the change.

Dealing with Resistance

Change brings upheaval even if it is for a good cause. During the actual beginning of the change process, keep in constant communication with your team members. Answering their questions as they arise can stem the flow of some of that gossip and complaining.

Another way to keep them on an even keel is to pass about any information that you can share about the new process. The more they know, the less they will speculate. Concrete information is better for making informed decisions about the future.

Acknowledge their feelings of disappointment and loss. Maybe hold a celebration or team party to discuss the old process and put it to bed. This seems extreme but a lot of hard work went into the current process, so this is a sort of closure event.

Redirect their feelings into positive and productive channels. Take that anger and sadness that can occur in the instability stage and use it to gain knowledge about how the new process works. Ask their input to make the transition smoother and the process as user-friendly as the last one. Instead of feeling something has been done to you, learn to make it work for the way you operate. Use their expertise to make the new process the best it can be.

Exhibit feelings of optimism and hope in the presence of your team members. Resist the urge to gossip but counter complaints with solutions.

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Deanna Maio August 26, 2016 Building & Leading Your Team