Team Leaders and Change Management

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Jesse Jacoby shares key steps for leaders to help their team accept and manage change.

In your role as a leader, you will likely encounter resistance to change at some point from one or more of your own team members. Resistance may come from a variety of sources:

An individual with a difficult personality

Someone anxious about impending change

A person who disagrees with your vision

Resistance is usually demonstrated in one of four ways, each with the potential to create roadblocks for you:

Lack of Communication – Leaving you out of the loop in terms of key information or not discussing issues openly

Lack of Support – Foot-dragging on key initiatives you try to implement

Counterproductive Criticism – Being overly critical of you and your ideas

Passive Aggressive Behavior – Agreeing to do something, but then not doing anything

Overt & Covert Resistance Action Steps

Resistance may be expressed directly (overt) or indirectly (covert). Overt resisters may be quite open with you or others about their discontent. Covert resisters, on the other hand, may behave in a passive-aggressive manner, agreeing with you verbally but participating half-heartedly or ineffectively with no real commitment. Although overt and covert resistance each present unique challenges, the best way to tackle either is to be prepared to encounter them. Be curious about their causes and direct in identifying them to the resister.

Here are a few practical steps you can take as a leader to address change resistance within your team:

Be alert to signs of resistance, and meet with the resister if it begins to create problems. Use active listening to gather information and gain an understanding of the employee’s perspective. Listening and showing that you understand a point of view do not mean you agree with a given behavior. Act as a “mirror” to the person, and point out your observations.

Without criticizing, identify the roadblocks you have observed.

Seek the individual’s perceptions of the situation.

Invite the resister to share any concerns. What would he or she like to see done differently?

Share your perspective and provide the individual with descriptive feedback about the impact of the behavior on the team and on you.

Define the positive behaviors you want to see, and be clear about your expectations.

Let the individual know that you want him/her to be part of the team and that you will value his/her contributions.

 

Key points include:

  • Signs of resistance
  • Defining positive behaviors
  • Understanding Resistance & Planning Your Response

Read the full article, How Leaders Can Manage Team Member Change Resistance, on EmergentConsultants.com.