People who resist change, are not ‘difficult people’. Rather they are often highly intelligent people who have thought about the change carefully, and have good reasons for resisting it.
Here are 10 common reasons why people resist change in organisations:
People who resist change don't see much benefit for themselves resulting from the change.
All they can see is extra work and extra stress.
Cutting costs, or restructuring simply means “We have to work harder to make the shareholders richer.’” And that is often true.
Don't see the benefit in change
People who resist change believe that the benefits resulting from the change, are not worth the extra work and stress they will experience in order to make the change work.
Too much work
People often resist change because they will be worse off as a result of the change.
People who resist change often see a number of barriers to the change, that are being ignored by the leaders. These barriers will, in their minds, prevent the change from working.
Many of them, have been through many change processes before that have not been implemented well. They have seen so many projects starting with a great fanfare, and never completed. “Why should this one be different?” They ask.
When people attend a launch of a new project or change, they want answers to the following questions, before they are prepared to trust that the change will work.
If you don't answer these questions clearly, people will resist the change.
No change plan
Some people tell them this change is worthwhile. Others are saying it is a waste of time. They don’t know who to believe.
If people don't feel valued, then they won't be motivated to work harder to make your change work. Many will ask, 'does it really matter if we contribute or not?'
People won't support people they don't trust.
Perhaps in the past, you failed to listen or care for them. They don’t see why they should go out of their way to help you now.
They don’t trust your intentions. You say the change will benefit them, but can they really believe it? Are you not just trying to manipulate or bully them?
People who resist change, are not difficult people. They are usually highly intelligent people who are asking you to do your job as a leader.
They are already overloaded with work. They don't have the time for your change. They are being measured and rewarded for other work. Time spent on your change, will mean they will have less time to spend on work that they are being measured on. So it is not in their best interests to support your change.
People who resist change, want to ensure that you as a leader have done your preparation, before you ask them to support you.
Before committing to any change, an intelligent person will ask themselves this question. Are the benefits I will receive from the change worth the extra work I will need put in? And will I actually see these benefits or will politics or lack of implementation mean that I am simply wasting my time by supporting this change?
If you can answer this question clearly, they will support you. If you can't answer this question clearly, then you will get resistance.
Before you attempt to communicate with any employees it is important to take the time you need to get a clear answer to this question. One way to do this is to develop a comprehensive change management strategy. This will provide you with the information you need answer employees' questions and objections clearly and simply. By doing so, you will win their respect and support.