Do you think your team is trying to sabotage your leadership? It could be normal resistance to change.
Ross came to me exasperated with his IT team. They strongly resisted the cross-training program he’d put into place. I explained to this frustrated manager that his team were normal. Most people don’t like change – rather, we don’t like the losses associated with changing.
I created a program where the team could safely talk about the change, and their perceived losses. During the session, the team did not want to complete the exercises or even talk about it. I finally got them to discuss what they might be losing as a result of the cross-training.
They revealed that they felt they wouldn’t be considered “the expert” any more if they cross-trained each other on their systems. The manager wanted to dismiss this as unimportant, but I pressed forward.
We discussed how they could rethink, reframe or release their sense of loss. While they struggled with the concept because they’d never thought about it before, their perceptions and attitudes changed radically.
Two days later Ross called to say that the team had made more progress in the 24 hours following our session than they had made in the previous six months.
We all resist the losses associated with change. We perceive we aren’t going to have the same status, or our relationships could be different. We could lose influence or control. We might think we are losing autonomy. This is what we are resisting, unconsciously, when we resist change.
My advice is accept there are losses, or at least perceived losses, when we introduce change into the organization. Know that this will happen and plan a session where your staff can discuss losses. They’ve got to understand them before they can remove them from impeding their progress.
Resistance is natural and normal. It happens to everyone to some extent.
Great leaders are proactive leaders, they know there will be resistance to change and schedule a session to mitigate the possible problems.
PS. The story is true. However, I’ve changed the manager’s name. You know – to protect the innocent!