How To Deal With Resistance To Change

How To Deal With Resistance To Change

Change is a part of life, however, it is often resisted. In a company, senior management needs to be able to overcome this resistance. In this post, we will cover Kotter & Schlesinger’s 6 approaches to solving this problem.

Communication & Education

In order for change to be successful, good communication is important, especially on the reasons for change.

When there is honest communication on the problems that are being faced, then the changes or action steps would appear to be more logical and required.

Any misconceptions about change can be helped by honest communication. It can greatly help people to understand the changes and how these changes are greatly needed.

Education will ensure that any poorly relayed information or misinformation is dealt with.

Keep in mind that good communication and education aren’t meant to be short term. They have to be used over a long period of time in a consistent manner so that they can be as impactful as possible.

Involvement & Participation

Another way to bring people on board with the changes is to get them involved in the actions that will promote change.

When you get people involved, this will make them committed as well as compliant.

One typical problem with change programs is figuring out how much should persons be involved. After all, it is important to reduce or even completely avoid any problems or delays.

Support & Facilitation

In change programs, adjustment problems can occur according to Kotter & Schlesinger.

The vast majority of people will require assistance and proper support so that they can deal with the changes. This is one of the aspects that change consultancy can assist a business with, ensuring that all those affected by the change receive appropriate support and feel that their concerns are being considered.

Some important aspects of facilitating and supporting change include providing counseling, training, discussions, mentoring etc. It is also important to listen to the concerns of all persons who would be impacted by the changes.

In the event that people are resisting change due to anxiety and fear, then it is even more important to provide high levels of support.

Manipulation & Co-option

When you take particular persons and bring them into change management, this is known as co-option. It is typically a good idea to take persons who may be particularly resistant to the changes such as managers.

Manipulation is essentially only providing particular sets of information so that people are easily swayed into thinking and acting in certain ways.

Now, manipulation can be quite unethical, however, if the other ways of dealing with resistance aren’t working, then it may possibly be the only remaining option that can be used.

Bargaining & Negotiation

This is when you provide an incentive to persons who are resisting change. If they still resist, then they will have to leave.

Now, negotiating and bargaining with persons may mean offering money to people who accept the change and what is required of them.

There may even be higher rewards for persons to leave as well.

This is a typical approach used by companies when they want to restructure.

Implicit & Explicit Coercion

As a last resort, explicit or implicit coercion can be used  if the other methods don’t work.

Explicit coercion is about telling people what will happen if they continue to resist change.

On the other hand, implicit coercion involves indicating the bad consequences should the business fail due to not going through with the changes. This is done without any explicit threats being made.

However, the problem with these methods is that it will hurt the trust among employees and may result in poor morale.

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