Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Dealing with Resistance

One of the challenges of being a senior minister is dealing with resistance. Sometimes there is a good reason for resistance (you have it wrong) and other times it appears that the resistance is because people are just plain obscurant.

So it was interesting to come across an article in the Harvard Business Review (way to expensive to buy regularly) which addresses the issue of resistance. The article is entitled Decoding Resistance to Change.

The authors identify resistance as feedback and therefore as a resource which may be used to increase your effectivness. Resistance understood as feedback:

1. boosts you awareness of how change impacts those who may not have had time to internalise the latest change. If you take the time to listen and engage in discussion people may actually be won over.
2. reminds you that explaining why, to those have not been involved in the planning process, is important and needs to be communicated again and again.
3. can lead to better results –perhaps a new way forward that has more people on- board
4. helps identify worries that people have and gives you a chance to address them and in turn people may be more content.
5. may be historical and nothing to do with the current change so it gives you the opportunity to address past misunderstandings and begin at a new point.

One of the things I like about this veiw of resistance is that it is reframes resistance as an opportunity and requires humility and grace from the leader.

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