How to Best Handle Teams that Resist Organizational Change

teams resist organizational change

Why Do Teams Resist Organizational Change?
Change management training and consulting experts know resistance to change is common…especially for those who prefer the tried and true.

Change Can Be Threatening
As crazy as it often sounds, even when the change is a positive one, any shift from the status quo often feels threatening to those who are impacted most.  So you should expect some team members to respond negatively to your announcement that a change is coming. But it is up to you as a team leader who has been charged with managing change successfully to come up with a strategy that will bring the team together and support the needed shift in direction.

Do NOT Underestimate the Disruption from Change
Unfortunately, leaders consistently underestimate how much change disrupts their workforce and upsets the current balance of how things get done.  Leaders also miscalculate the consistent and meaningful effort required to help others accept change and to see things differently.  At the same time, employees often do not clearly understand or appreciate the implications of change on their company, their team or their individual role.

What You Need for organizational Change to Take Hold
This is important for change management training and consulting experts to understand because widespread employee support is typically required for an important change to take hold.  In our experience, you must get one-hundred percent of the leadership team and at least fifty percent of the target population to advocate for and live the change for it to have a chance to become the new norm.

Four Change Tips that Work
Perhaps the most important factor in encouraging a positive attitude is creating an atmosphere where questions are encouraged and answers are straightforward. Here are four simple change management training and consulting tips that work:

#1.  There should be no hidden agenda.
Be transparent about the current situation, the complications, the implications and what you are trying to achieve.

#2.  Gather frequently and be open to team members’ concerns and feedback.
Encourage a two-way about what is working, what is not working and plans to move forward.

#3.  Check in with individual naysayers to try to understand why they are reluctant to embrace the change.
Get them involved to improve the “new way” of doing things.

#4.  Be willing to meet as a team for open, frank discussions and keep the group fully informed as progress is made toward the goal.
Share what you know, what you do not know and when you should be able to fill in any gaps.

The Bottom Line
Normally, teams resist organizational change.  It is your job as a change leader to reduce the disruption and unhealthy resistance.  Most often, a team that balks at change is a team that has not been well understood, well informed or well heard.

If you want to know if teams resist organizational change and if your organizational change initiative is set up to succeed, Take our Change Management Health Check Now to see where you stand.

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