How to Overcome Resistance to Change with Employees

How to Overcome Resistance To Change With Employees 150x150 How to Overcome Resistance to Change with Employees business topics Change happens every day in business and in our personal lives. The same person who adapts well to personal change may not adapt well to change in their professional life. As a leader, how do you overcome resistance to change with employees? I think it depends on the nature of the change. Changes that personally impact many employees, such as a downsizing, merger/acquisition, change in the top leadership…these are changes that have widespread implications. Other changes, such as a change in technology, direction of their department, change in their individual roles/responsibilities…these, I believe, are more easily handled. But the question ‘how to overcome resistance to change’ is not easy to answer regardless of the magnitude of the change. Truth is, change is difficult for many and there is not a one-size-fits-all solution.


However, you can take some basic steps to manage through the changes. Communication is key. Communicate often and openly. Resistance to change happens when people don’t have all the facts, assumptions are made and rumors fly. Secondly, acknowledge their feelings about the change and empathize. Don’t, however, let them wallow in their feelings. Sooner or later they will have to step up and accept the change, or step out. Finally, understand that there will be some employees who cannot or will not adapt to the change. People are people and you can’t affect all of them. Accept this as part of the process.


I wish I could offer specific answers to the question on how to overcome resistance to change with employees, but frankly it’s a bit of trial and error. You know your people, and what works for one company may not work with yours. But just keep talking to them. Sooner or later they will come around … or they won’t and they will leave. Either outcome is OK.

share save 171 16 How to Overcome Resistance to Change with Employees business topics
  1. Leanne Hoagland Smith
    Leanne Hoagland SmithApr 18, 2010

    Great, practical advice and suggestions especially the last one about those who may leave.

  2. JAA
    JAAApr 19, 2010

    Great article!  Each of your points rang true in the process that I went through.  I would add that reinforcing sense of self, emphasizing pride in work, and possible acquisition of hard and soft skills in those one is trying to change can also help.

  3. Joe
    JoeAug 02, 2010

    Sounds like a very “my way or the highway” dictatorial approach to me. How about assessing the need to change in the first place, or to explain why the changes are occurring? People aren’t stupid. They know when their jobs and lives are on the line, so it is very hubristic to assume that communicating openly is a solution. The middle class is being culled by a group of insatiable globalists and corporatist grifters that have nothing better to do with their time but to “change” society for the benefit of their own opulent minority. This caste is infesting the board rooms of enterprises all over the world. The ultimate question is, who benefits from the changes taking place? If the changes only benefit the bureaucratic classes, and not everyone equally, it is a fraud.

    “Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition.” -Thomas Jefferson

Add Comment Register

Leave a Reply

Powered by WishList Member - Membership Software