As a leader for over three decades, I’ve learned that people tend to resist change. Some mildly resist. Some criticize it but then adjust. Some run from it. And some fight change with every ounce of their energy. From a leadership perspective, I’ve learned a few things about why people resist change.
CONFUSION – As a leader, I’ve made the mistake of not giving people enough information about the change I’m asking them to make. When people understand what the change is about and the reasons behind the change, they often become less opposed and even supportive.
CONTROL – Resistance to change increases when folks feel like they are losing control. I have discovered that patient, honest, transparent conversations, while remaining firm with the change, can sometimes keep change critics from working against you, even if they still don’t agree with the change. And, then sometimes, you simply have to move forward without their support because some people always want to be in control.
CARE – Some reluctance to change comes out of others feeling the leader doesn’t care. I have seen that including people in the decision process, acknowledging and attempting to understand their concerns, along with good vision casting can alleviate some of these concerns. People don’t care about how much you know until they know how much you care.
CONFLICTED – There are people who object to change because they object to life. They have been wounded deeply and they continue to live in such pain that any additional change shakes their world disproportionately to others experiencing the same adjustment.
COMFORT – This is probably the most common reason for opposition to change. It’s uncomfortable. We just don’t like it. And truthfully, we all resist change at some level. Resistance to change is relative to the size of the change. Of course, our life experiences, our wiring, and our personalities all contribute to how we adjust to both slight variations and radical transformations.
So, if you are facing some change right now and you find yourself resisting, take a look at these five words and see if you can identify which one is the predominant reason? If you are a leader and you find others around you resisting change, how might you adjust your presentation of change so others around you might respond more positively?
QUESTION: What additional reasons would you add as to why people resist change? Please share them in the comment area below.