Eliminating the Barriers to Change

Written by Patrick Del Rosario

changesHow do you convince your workers to go along with a change?

Employees are typically resistant to change because they have grown comfortable to doing things a certain way. It’s hard for them to see the benefits in fixing what doesn’t seem broken. But that doesn’t mean it has to turn into a battle every time you change something. In fact, you can eliminate many of the barriers and much of the resistance just by engaging in a few simple policies.

Communicate early and often. People resist change when it surprises them. That’s why it’s so important to actively involve your workers in the process as early as possible. You don’t have to give them input, but it is vitally important that they know when and why a change is coming. Continue to communicate with them about it throughout the process.

Explain the benefits. Clearly and honestly describe how employees will benefit from this new system. Maybe it will allow them to complete a previously taxing and boring task in a much shorter amount of time. Whatever the positives are, knowing them – and following through on them – can really help to get people on board.

Know your likely resistors. With any change, there are certain people who you know will put up more of a fight than others. There are many reasons why someone might fall into this category. It doesn’t really matter why they will be resistant so much as that you are aware of this likelihood and work to bring them around before the change happens. If you can’t get them to change their minds, you at least need to engage in behaviors that will mitigate the damage that they can do.

Target root causes, not symptoms. Too many managers seek to stomp out the behaviors of resistance as a way to push the change through, but all that does is create resentment and make people feel like they don’t have a voice. Instead, talk to your employees to find out why they are resistant. See if there’s something that can be done to assuage their fears.

Reinforce the change. Your job isn’t done once you roll out the new system. Oftentimes people will continue to passively resist by sticking with the old way of doing things. Don’t interpret this as an attack against your plan. While some may be engaging in this behavior on purpose, others simply might not feel that they understand the new process well enough.

If you notice resistance occurring in this way, try to find out why and do your best to alleviate it. One of the best ways to do this is to make sure that people are receiving positive reinforcement when they do follow the new model.

Ready to lead?

WATCH: Leonard Buhler on how to increase your capacity to lead
WATCH:  How to lead by example

No comments yet

Leave a Reply