How many times have you introduced change to your team members and been met with resistance? What causes this resistance?

FEAR

There are many reasons why your team members react poorly to change.  The first one is fear. They have many fears, but the primary one is how the change is going to affect their job. Believe it or not, most people are self-centered. They are not company centered. They have to know what is in for them. How are they going to be affected? Will they still be able to succeed under the company adjustments?

BEING LEFT OUT OF THE DISCUSSIONS

Your employees are the ones in the field. They know their jobs intimately and if they are good at their jobs, they take pride in what they are doing. If you fail to consult with them during the process of change, they feel thwarted, undermined and insulted. They want to be a part of the organization not apart from the organization.

LACK OF COMMUNICATION

During the process of transformation, your team members can get downright cranky if they are not being kept up to date with the process.  They want to know why the change is taking effect, when it will happen, how it will happen and where it will happen. Your employees may not always agree with your decisions, but if they are informed about the whys, whens, wheres, and hows, they are much more likely to go along rather than fight you every step of the way.

DISTRUST

Your job as the head of the new process is to move people forward, to keep them united, and to help them understand how the change is going to improve the company and make their situation better. If your team members feel that you are hiding details or facts from them, they will feel cheated. They will not believe what you are trying to sell, and the resistors will gain momentum.

ALTERATIONS OF ROUTINES

When something new is introduced, people automatically fear that it will mean changes to their daily routines. People like routines, because they like to live in the comfort zone. Expansion, in their minds, equates to anxiety. When you can prove that the process will result in less, not more work, and you will assist them in every way possible in the transition, you will find more friends than foes.

CONFUSION ABOUT THE NEED FOR CHANGE

This is where clear communication is essential. Confusion is caused by a lack of standardized words and phrases that are used. Once the direction has been determined and a clear plan has been set forth, all communication efforts should come directly from the plan with matching phrases. The communication efforts should be directed from the top but facilitated along all levels equally. The message you are sending to your team members should be clear, concise and in simple language to avoid unnecessary confusion.

CHANGE IN THE STATUS QUO

Once people have established themselves as an expert in a field or have achieved a certain level of mastery in that field, they don’t want to be shoved out of their position. After all, they have probably spent years if not a couple of decades acquiring the status they now hold. If they have even inkling that their status might be shifted, they will be ready for a fight. Assurance from leadership that their value is known and will be utilized can ease much of the tension.

A FINAL NOTE

Great leadership is critical during any shift in the company. People will follow those they trust. If you have established yourself as a leader with vision, good communication skills, and the ability to overcome challenges, you will most likely have the majority of the people prepared to follow you. However, if you don’t address the seven issues listed above, you might still face a mutiny. With a little forethought and planning where you take the time to understand your employees’ issues, you will be able to move effectively and efficiently through organizational change.