MANAGING RESISTANCE: 7 + Tips for Managing Resistance To Change

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businesses frequently update or modify their operations, products, and processes, to remain competitive and profitable. If you are a manager or in a position of leadership, think about how resistance to change occurs and how to manage it. Learning how to overcome management resistance to change will help you efficiently manage a team and keep employee morale and productivity high during organizational changes. In this article, we define resistance to change in management, examine how it works, detail its characteristics, and provide tips for managing it in an organization.

What is Managing Resistance to Change?

Resistance to change is the refusal to adjust to new conditions or ways of doing things. It can happen to people, relationships, or institutions. There are numerous reasons for resistance, but at its core, resistance stems from a fear of the unknown. People are biologically programmed to seek patterns and predictability, and any uncertainty, no matter how anticipated or favorable, can cause anxiety.

What is Resistance Management?

Resistance management entails taking the required actions to reduce resistance throughout the project lifetime so that individuals may successfully transition to the future state with targeted levels of adoption and usage. This results in the achievement of project objectives as well as organizational advantages. Without resistance management, impacted people may never achieve the targeted future state, jeopardizing the organization’s ability to transition to the future state.

How Does Managing Resistance to Change Work?

In many professional situations, change is unavoidable and frequently encounters opposition. This is because employees may choose to stick with the same procedures and processes, especially if they don’t perceive any compelling reasons to change. Managers must ensure that their personnel can efficiently adjust to changes. Consider tips for managing resistance to change management to demonstrate your effectiveness and secure corporate success.

Team members can express their opposition to change through organized rallies, public confrontations, or strikes, as well as by subtle signs of defiance or discomfort. Employee resistance to change can manifest itself in a variety of ways depending on the type of work environment and the change.

Why Does Resistance Occur?

Anxiety and terror are brought on by change. The current condition has immense holding power, and the uncertainty of success and the dread of the unknown can stymie and generate resistance to change. These physical and emotional reactions are strong enough to produce resistance to change on their own. But resistance is more than just our emotional reaction. From a change management standpoint, we must investigate the following factors that influence an employee’s resistance to change:

  • The influence on their work
  • The credibility of those expressing the change; 
  • Personal characteristics such as money, age, health, mobility, and family status; 
  • The alignment of the change with their value system
  • The organization’s track record of dealing with change

Even when affected individuals and groups can align the change with their self-interests and belief systems, the uncertainty of success and fear of the unknown continues to be substantial hurdles to change.

Characteristics of Managing Workplace Resistance to Change

Here are some key characteristics of managing resistance to change that might help you detect it in the workplace:

#1. Avoidance

Some team members may try to dodge the change by pretending it does not exist. They may choose to ignore the new procedures or methods and instead operate in ways that are familiar to them. You may overcome this resistance as a leader by communicating expectations early on. This allows them enough time to adjust and be strong when enforcing the changes. Establish the repercussions for members who refuse to accept the changes and follow up with them fairly and consistently.

#2. Rejection

Another sign of resistance to change that you may encounter during meetings or brainstorming sessions is rejection. Team members might show their opposition to change by dismissing ideas for change casually, finding flaws in others’ proposals for change, or rejecting nonconforming suggestions in meetings. You may overcome this resistance by fostering a company culture that values each employee’s ideas and proposals.

#3. Division

Resistance to change can also manifest as a schism among team members or departments within an organization. Division frequently makes effective collaboration difficult and may spark internal conflicts or unprofessional attitudes. Consider addressing divides as soon as possible to ensure staff productivity and your success as a leader.

Tips for Managing Resistance to Change

Here are some practical tips for successfully managing resistance to change in an organization:

#1. Encourage openness.

Transparency is an effective method for managing workplace resistance to change. Because resistance is typically motivated by apprehension about the unknown, encouraging transparency and clarifying the reasons for the change can assist team members become more open to the idea.

Consider highlighting the significance of the change and your targeted outcomes to allay their anxieties and assist them grasp the potential benefits of the change. Transparency may be maintained throughout the transition by communicating the company’s goals and providing information to team members frequently.

#2. Assist staff

When executing an organizational change, make sure to provide enough support to staff to ensure an effective transition. Assume you intend to modify the company’s software or technology for daily operations in all departments. You can provide relevant training to help staff learn how to use the new software efficiently, increasing their confidence and chances of pleasantly accepting the change.

Consider holding extra meetings to explain the change and allow employees to ask pertinent questions and share their concerns. Actively listen to their feedback and be ready to provide the assistance they need to transition to the new method.

#3. Promote active participation

If the change is on a significant scale, encourage every team member and department employee to fully participate. By involving every employee, you can foster a sense of community as well as acceptance and support within the team. Employees who actively participate may feel more invested in the changes and more willing to accept them. To increase participation and organizational alignment, get input and incorporate employee suggestions into change plans.

#4. Remain patient

People react differently to management changes, and some team members may take longer than others to accept new work processes and routines. Because transitions are often difficult, it is critical to practice empathy and patience with your team members as they adjust throughout transition time. While you can be tough in your demands, consider giving them some time to adjust to the new situation. You can also ensure they have the resources and assistance they need to properly adjust to the shift.

#5. Set clear expectations

As you move forward with organizational changes, make sure you clarify how you want staff to adopt them. This allows them to prepare and ask pertinent questions before implementing the changes across the firm. Establishing your expectations for each team member throughout the transition process is also vital, as it helps them understand their expected roles and duties.

#6. Determine which resistors should be replaced.

While it is essential to have tolerance and recognize that people react to changes differently, it is also important to confront unacceptable behavior in resistance to change management. Consider discussing with some team members about their conduct if they refuse to embrace an organizational change despite having the required resources and assistance.

Allow them to convey their point of view and reasons for opposing the change. After actively listening, you can educate them on the significance and worth of the shift and assist them in developing methods to alter their attitude.

Restate your expectations regarding them and discuss the potential implications of continuing to oppose management changes. If they fail to change their attitude or continue to create an uncomfortable environment for other members, you may impose the previously indicated consequences.

#7. Recognize and appreciate employees’ efforts and contributions.

Another successful method for managing resistance to change is to recognize team members when they deserve it. Show your team members how much you appreciate them by recognizing and thanking them for their efforts and contributions throughout the transition. This can make people feel acknowledged and generate a sense of participation in implementing the change, making it easier for them to accept it.

#8. Speak with staff

Effective communication is critical in managing workplace resistance to change. Consider consulting with team members at each stage of the change process to involve them. You can express your ideas and allow employees to react to them and provide feedback.

You may help members who are resistant to change channel their emotions in a useful way by fostering connections within the team and encouraging members to be upfront about their worries and feelings. Consider fostering talks that allow team members to address their differences politely if you detect conflicting ideas or conflicts.

#9. Create a welcoming environment

Managing resistance to change can also emerge when team members believe they are not a part of the decision-making process or have no say in the affairs of the firm. Consider fostering an accepting environment in which team members can communicate their thoughts and preferences about the change.

This can help them make more imaginative and better suggestions for places to improve. It can also make people more open to embracing and adhering to organizational changes. Companies that appreciate employee feedback and place a premium on flexibility, adaptability, and innovation are more likely to prosper.

How Do You Manage Resistance?

Tips for managing resistance to change:

  • Build the team to its full potential.
  • Set goals that are hard, attainable, and engaging.
  • Resolve disagreements promptly and effectively.
  • Demonstrate zeal.
  • Be persuading.
  • Encourage creativity and innovation.
  • Maintain a pleasant and supportive attitude.

How Do You Manage Resistance in the Workplace?

Managing employee resistance:

  • Take charge of the changes.
  • Promote a positive work environment.
  • Describe the changes.
  • Explain why the modification was made.
  • Listen carefully and empathically to your staff.
  • Ideas should be elicited.

Why Is Managing Resistance To Change Important?

It forces us to involve staff in the transformation and encourage better solutions. It compels us to devise resistance management and reinforcement strategies.

What Are the 3 Causes of Resistance?

The most common reasons for resistance to change are:

  • Lack of trust and confidence.
  • Emotional reactions.
  • Lack of training and help resources.
  • The fear of failing.
  • Communication breakdown.
  • Unrealistic timelines.
  • Existing organization’s culture and norms.

What Are Two Possible Tactics for Overcoming Resistance?

Coercion and negotiation are two potential tips for managing resistance to change.

What Are Different Resistance Strategies?

There are four types of resistance strategies: avoidance, arguing, skewed processing, and empowerment.

What Are the 5 Main Reasons People Resist Change?

The following are some of the reasons why people resist change and what we can do about it:

  • People are afraid of being unique, especially when there is no precedent.
  • People are feeling stressed or overburdened.
  • People are afraid of changing the status quo.
  • People have lost faith in those who are making changes.
  • People understand that change comes with it new opportunities and challenges.


Managing resistance to change is a fundamental component of successful organizational change. Resistance to change is a natural human response that can emerge for a variety of reasons, such as fear of the unknown, loss of control, and uncertainty about the future. However, if not addressed, resistance can jeopardize the effectiveness of even the best-planned change programs.

To effectively manage resistance to change, it is necessary to first understand the underlying causes of the resistance and then devise a targeted approach to address them. This could include explicitly expressing the need for change, involving employees in the change process, offering training and support, and addressing employee worries and fears.

It is equally critical to remember that resistance to change can be a source of growth and development. By involving employees and resolving their issues, organizations can gain valuable insights and ideas that can assist improve the change process and the initiative’s effectiveness.

To summarize, managing resistance to change necessitates a deliberate and planned approach that includes identifying the fundamental reasons for resistance, establishing focused tactics to address it, and recognizing the possibilities for development and improvement that can result from the process. By doing so, companies may successfully manage change and emerge stronger and more resilient in the long run.


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