The first order of things to be changed is me, the leader. After I consider how hard it is to change myself, then I will understand the challenge of trying to change others. This is the ultimate test of leadership.
Last time, we talked about the Leader as a Change Agent. Today, we will discuss the various forms of resistance the change agent may encounter.
Why People Resist Change:
- The change isn't self-initiated.
-When people lack ownership of an idea, they usually resist it, even when it is in their best interest.
- Wise leaders allow followers to give input and be a part of the process of change.
- Routine is disrupted.
- Habits allow us to do things without much thought, which is why most of us have so many of them.
- Habits are not instincts. They are acquired reactions. They don't just happen; they are caused.
- First we form habits, but then our habits form us.
- Change creates fear of the unknown.
- Change means traveling in uncharted waters, and this causes our insecurities to rise.
- Therefore, many people are more comfortable with old problems than with new solutions.
- The purpose of change is unclear.
- That's why decisions should be made at the lowest level possible. The decision-maker, because of close proximity to the issue, will make a better decision, and those most affected by the decision will know it quickly by hearing it from a source close to them and to the problem.
- Change creates fear of failure.
- Elbert Hubbard said that the greatest mistake a person can make is to be afraid of making one.
- The rewards for change don't match the effort change requires.
- What leaders sometimes fail to recognize is that the followers will always weigh the advantage/disadvantage issue in light of personal gain/loss, not organization gain/loss.
- People are too satisfied with the way things are.
- We choose to die rather than choose to change.
- Change won't happen when people engage in negative thinking.
- Regardless of his state in the present, the negative thinker finds disappointment in the future.
- The followers lack respect for the leader.
- People will view the change according to the way they view the change-agent.
- When you love your followers genuinely and correctly, they'll respect you and follow you through many changes.
- The leader is susceptible to feelings of personal criticism.
- For growth and continual effectiveness, every organization must go through a continuous four-stage cycle of create, conserve, criticize, and change.
- Either the creators handle criticism positively and begin to make changes or they will be replaced by those who will embrace change and, therefore, create.
- Change may mean personal loss.
- "How will this affect me?"- Usually there are three groups of people within the organization:
1. Those who will lose,
2. Those who are neutral, and
3. Those who will benefit.
- Each group is different and must be handled with sensitivity, but also with straightforwardness.
- Change requires additional commitment.
- Time is the most precious commodity for many people.
- Whenever change is about to happen, we all look to see how it will affect our time.
- Narrow-mindedness thwarts acceptance of new ideas.
- Tradition resists change.
Next time, we will discover how to create a climate for change.
Donald G Rosenbarger
Senior Vice President
Delta Companies Inc