Management - Handling Resistance to Change.

Essay by bbgirlUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, June 2003

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Handling Resistance to Change

Change is resisted simply because it means giving something up. Every step forward requires leaving something behind. It is standard human behavior for people to be reluctant to let go of things that matter to them, yet they can not move forward until they loosen their grip on what is holding them back.

In the workplace, staff themselves might not understand the real source of their resistance. In the outsourcing, an employee might be unhappy about severing her connection with colleagues and vendors, or with the organization members she previously served. Another employee might feel anxious about altering familiar routines, fear a loss of status, or be reluctant to give up the prestige associated with being expert at his old jobs. He might just be upset about losing the office he had occupied for years or the phone number he had always had. Do not underestimate the reasons for resistance to change.

Perhaps an employee has concerns about whether the new service providers can support their clients as well as he does, or whether the new arrangement is really in the organization's best interest. These issues and the resistance they generate are valid. But first, it is important to deal with the sense of loss that employees experience whenever change, large or small, is in the air.

Resistance to change stems largely from the reality or perception of loss, not necessarily from the change initiative itself. Promoting the wisdom of the change, therefore, is unlikely in and of itself to build support. You must also address that sense of loss. That is why the first step in managing resistance is to acknowledge openly what you and others are losing. You might think such candor would only serve to "stir things up," but experience shows that suppressing...