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Why People Resist Change

You may have tried to initiate change in your team, seen the benefits of the change and even communicated it well to every team member. Then you may have been puzzled by certain people’s reactions where they resisted the changes and wondered why they put up such a defense of the current position.

Well, you’re not alone. Many managers have hit the wall of resistance and created real challenges by not approaching the situation in the right way.

Here are four reasons why the resistance to change may be quite large:

The need for security and stability: some people rely heavily on the current status quo for their self-worth. Changing something may affect their secure position and all they associate with change is pain.

They fear the results of the change: personal effects for themselves may outweigh the benefits they see happening.

A misunderstanding of the reasons for change: the person may lack information as to the reasons for change, or it hasn’t been communicated properly with them.

Disagreement as to the reasons for change: they assess the situation differently or may disagree that change is needed at all.

Any of these reasons may produce obstacles to the changes you are attempting to put forward.

There are many ways that these obstacles can be overcome, though they seem to boil down to specific methods that lay the foundations for change.

They include;

• Communicating an effective message using the correct medium

• Involving the people concerned in the change process instead of insisting they follow directions

• Support the change mechanism and help people adjust to it

• Agree what will happen to those who may lose out in the change

• Work with people to create a team consensus where they play a major role in the development of the change

• As a last resort, managers can use force by making clear what the end results of not changing would be.

It’s important to ascertain the reasons for the resistance before prescribing the way forward, as using the incorrect means may crank up the resistance levels and you’re left with even more obstacles than before.