The Leader’s Role in Making Change Happen

Overcoming employee resistance to change lies in your leadership abilities, and no one knows better than you how hard it is to get employees to embrace change. Especially when you’re dealing with the frustration, uncertainty, and stress that often come with changes.

Old Way New Way on BlackboardFrom new policies to major structural shifts, you’re responsible for the results that come from changes in your organization (both planned and unexpected). And without employee support, it’s hard to see successful changes through.

That’s why you must have the techniques for laying a solid foundation that will help employees overcome their resistance to change. Without these skills, you may never achieve the success that will keep your business healthy and thriving.

1. Give the team a reason to do something different. This maybe an urgent reason such as loss of market share, lower profits,etc. This will create a sense of urgency about the change.

2. Find the unofficial power brokers in the organization or on your team. There are people who have a natural power or presence about them. This presence draws people to them, so they are able to exert tremendous influence over the rest of the team. Spend some extra time with these people, making sure they know what the changes are and why they are needed.

Resisting Change3. Help team members see the possibilities. What could be? Most people will respond to an articulate vision or a challenge if they see the possibilities of what could be.

4. Empower your team. Provide as much information, responsibility, and authority as you can. Let employees continue to function as a team during the change or transition.

5. Thank or reward incrementally. Do not wait until 100 percent of your team has embraced 100 percent of the change 100 percent of the time. When you see team members even making an effort to embrace the change, notice it. Thank or reward them in commensurate ways.

6. Keys to overcoming employee resistance to change:

  • Challenge organizational beliefs, assumptions, and behaviors.
  • Create a willingness for people to change by modeling the behavior in yourself.
  • Be alert to resistance to change and consciously work to overcome it.
  • Motivate people to change (give them a reason to act) and be excited about changing.

7. Portrait of female manager sitting at the office table scaredIf people flatly refuse to embrace critical changes, help them see the following realities:

  • Change happens.
  • They can anticipate, monitor, and adapt to change quickly.
  • They can enjoy the change.
  • Document your efforts and their resistance.
  • Some people will only change if there is a real consequence if they don’t. Think progressive discipline.

8. Consider the following and ways to deal with each before introducing any changes:

  • Fear
  • Employees who feel powerless
  • Inertia
  • “What’s in it for me”

When the only constant in life, and business, is change, you have to know how to handle it more effectively than anyone else.

 

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