The company faced a new rollout. Employees learned a new computer system and it changed the daily workflow. The manager got frustrated with employees that complained about the changes  and weren’t appreciating how the  system boosted the company’s efficiency and long-term competitive advantage.

When your employees resist change, it has a negative impact on work culture. Most likely, your employees grumble and complain to each other rather than direct their concerns to you. Water cooler conversations with other employees fuel negative and inaccurate assumptions. You hear their disgruntled concerns through the grapevine and you’re frustrated. It slows down progress and adds pressure as you attempt to move the project forward.

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Before you react to your employee’s resistance, consider the cause of the push back and how you can gain buy-in to change.

Your Choice Point

As a leader, you choose how to handle employee resistance. A stern lecture, shaming or yelling might help temporarily but not in the long run. Initially, it feels good to vent, but these approaches do nothing for trust and team cohesiveness. Ignoring the negative chatter will infect your culture with even more resistance. These approaches only lead to more problems.

A better choice is to pause and reflect on the possible reasons behind your employee resistance?

  1. Fear – Fear of the unknown often fuels resistance. The negative bias of the brain over emphasizes the negative and minimizes the positive. Your employees may be putting up barriers to change because they have fears they haven’t expressed. Do know and understand what’s at stake for them? How much have you assured them of their job security?
  2. Frustration – Some employees can only see how they are impacted by change. Have you explained the big picture and the “why” behind the upcoming changes?  Have they been adequately trained to the new system?
  3. Failure – With any change, there’s a learning curve. Underneath the complaints, employees may feel out of control and inadequate. Something they used to master is no longer. It may take them longer to do work they used to be able to breeze right through. How much encouragement have you given for their efforts and understanding?

When you face employee resistance, consider these reasons. Address the resistance and listen for how they view the change. Validate their contribution to the company’s growth and their value to the team.  Give them a picture of how they will benefit from the changes in the long run.

When you take the time to understand your employee’s point of view, you diffuse resistance and get buy-in.

In next blog, we’ll address an essential leadership skill in dealing with resistance – empathy.

If you are frustrated with your employees’ resistance to change, book a complimentary 1-1 strategy session. We can help you through your specific situation and give you 2-3 strategies you can use right away. We look forward to helping you improve employee buy-in to change in your company.

Bonnie Artman Fox works with senior leaders who want to create work cultures that bring out the best in their employees, attract peak performers, and build cohesive teams. From over 25 years in the healthcare and psychology fields, she applies her expertise to coach and consult with leaders to replace behaviors that sabotage organizational health with positive behaviors that eliminate infighting, office politics, and dysfunction. To learn more or bring Bonnie to your company, let’s talk.

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