The apple that rocks the cart

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Sometimes you find that everyone is onboard with a new idea. Except one.

Here's some options for helping someone who's resistant to change.

Talk to them one on one

  • Get the whole team together and let them know that you'll be having one on one chats with each of them about the change. That way you don't single out the one who's resistant.
  • Explain the reason for the change, what other options were considered and why this option was chosen. 
  • Ask about their concerns and listen carefully - just because someone has a different opinion doesn't mean they are resistant to change. A diverse range of opinions are necessary. Listen carefully. What concerns do they have? Are they valid?
  • Are they feeling scared or uncertain? Help them understand what can be done to mitigate the impacts.
  • Hopefully, you've been holding regular one on ones through out the year, so you've already built a solid relationship with them.
  • Let them know that you will support them through the change.

Give them some time. 

  • Give your team members some time to absorb the change. Remember that you're likely to be a few steps ahead on the change curve. 
  • As manager, you usually know about a change before your team. You probably had some time to absorb the news prior to briefing the team. You may have felt angry or confused or scared as well, but now you've moved on. Remember that your team are hearing it for the first time and will go through similar emotions, but not at the same time as you.
  • We all take time to process something new and may go through a range of reactions before coming on board.

What if that doesn't work?

  • Unfortunately, you may still find that they continue to resist the change. 
  • If it continues, you will need to decide if they should remain in your team. You can't force someone to change, but you can indicate that you're building a team of committed team members. 
  • Don't underestimate the impact to other team members and the emotional energy required to work with someone who is actively resisting change.

While resistance to change can be inevitable in any organisation, it's hoped these tips will provide insight about how to approach the situation when it arises. What are your experiences with change resisters? What was the result of your approach to the situation? Let me know below.

Guest blogger Geoff Saxby is an expert in the field of pragmatic and effective management with over 10 years experience. Click to learn more about his company Refined Consulting.