Change is inherent as you strive for growth and progress. But change can also be scary and frustrating. No wonder employees resist change when an organization is going through a transformation. However, the business and working landscape will inevitably evolve since the external factors are volatile. In this guide for transformational leaders, we’ll examine the causes of resistance to change and how to overcome these.
Causes of Resistance to Change
Resistance to change is a common occurrence in organizations of all sizes. When an organizational leader initiates change, employees resist this for various reasons. Identifying the causes of resistance to change is the first step to overcoming resistance and making a smooth transition.
- Fear of the unknown – Change is unsettling because your employees are in uncharted territory. Everything is new to them, and not knowing what’s ahead can instill fear.
- Loss of control – The unknown often brings a sense of lack of control. It disrupts the existing structures and routines, so your employees might resist change.
- Lack of trust – Employees who don’t trust their leaders or organization hesitate to embrace change.
- Personal beliefs – A person’s beliefs and values can also cause fear for their future and other potential consequences of that change.
These are the most common causes of resistance to change, but other factors could exist. Make sure you identify the underlying causes so you can map out the steps to address them.
Strategies to Overcome Resistance to Change
Transformational leaders understand and prioritize their employees’ needs. As a result, they require your support now more than ever as you’re going through a period of change and transformation.
Let’s look at some strategies that can serve as a guide for transformational leaders to overcome resistance to change and influence your employees to adapt.
1. Communicate Clearly and Effectively
Clear and effective communication is a crucial component of overcoming resistance to change. First, you have to communicate to your employees why change is necessary. In addition, you must express what the changes involve and how your employees will be affected.
Provide regular updates and allow them to ask questions or give feedback. Aim to keep your team informed and involve them throughout the change process. It will significantly reduce anxiety and stress about the impending change.
2. Address Their Concerns
Communication is a two-way street. It’s not enough to give them a voice to speak out their concerns. You have to take actionable steps to address those concerns.
For example, an employee expresses concern about job security because of an organizational change. Explain how the changes will benefit them and reassure them about their job security. Focus on the potential benefits that would arise as a result of the transition, to make them ease into it as comfortably as possible.
3. Set a Good Example
Transformational leaders lead by vision and action. The best way to overcome resistance to change is to lead by example. Embrace change and maintain a positive attitude. It’s only a matter of time until you spread that positivity among your employees. By maintaining a positive outlook, you can also help them embrace the change with a positive mindset.
4. Prioritize Employees
One of the best ways to overcome resistance to change is to equip your employees with training and support. By investing in them, you can reassure your employees that they will play a vital role in your transition. It also eliminates the fear of the unknown because they are prepared for the challenges ahead.
For example, if you are implementing a new software program in your system, provide your employees with training sessions before the new software rollout. It will give them confidence that they have the knowledge and skill to use the new software and system. Investing in your employees also empowers them and makes them feel valued.
5. Implement in Phases
A significant change can be challenging, especially if your employees have to adapt to a new system or process. Make the transition as easy for them as possible by implementing changes in phases.
Any changes in the workplace shouldn’t happen overnight. Therefore, there has to be significant preparation to ensure that employees at all levels can ease into the transition stage with minimal resistance.
Transformational leaders are critical in helping employees ease into any organizational changes. Of course, resistance is inevitable; it’s human nature. But taking a proactive approach to managing that resistance can help you empathize with your employees and provide them with the support they need as you implement those changes.
1. Communicate: share clear reasons and the process of change.
2. Open and Transparent: share the challenges and possible solutions, and address fears and concerns.
3. Role model and Inspire: act as a change agent and enthusiast.
It is possible to overcome all causes of resistance to change through the following process
1. Communicate Disruption and Vision- what is happening and how we will overcome it.
2. Clearing; Listen and address challenges, concerns, and fear.
3. C0-create: Vision, strategy, and actions – what we will achieve and how we will get there
4. Ownership: Own the changes required – why and how I need to change
5. Commitment: Elicit commitment to change.
6. Accountability: Ensure we will stay on the path
7. Continuous improvement