Resistance is a natural, human reaction to change.
It doesn’t matter how well designed, crafted or intended the plan, when we move towards change, whether at home or work, we also move towards an encounter with resistance that has the potential to derail our plans.
Resistance to change, however, is not a critique of you or the change. It is, at the risk of being redundant, purely reactionary. Good ideas don’t become great without encountering resistance. Meaningful change does not happen in a smooth, linear path.
Change is full of stops, restarts, reroutes and resets.
Change can be threatening, often on a level impossible for the people responsible for implementing the change to perceive. Change can be disruptive to the status and relationships of the people affected. It can breed discontent, sow division, and turn even the most straightforward and potentially positive efforts into a confusing web of competing parties that want to win at all costs.
Resistance to change can feel like defeat. It can rob those motivated to move towards bigger, better things of the energy and momentum necessary to keep moving forward.
But that doesn’t have to be the case.
If we are to be the champions of change, to use our strengths and experiences for good, our positions in human resources for the benefit of our employees and our communities, we cannot give up or become cynical when we encounter life’s realities.
Our job then is to have the courage to embrace the individual perspectives of the people involved because each one is worth knowing and understanding. We must create messages of change that help people see how work and life will be better in the future and help them develop the skills to thrive in that future.
And perhaps most importantly, our job is to remember that we are humans ourselves, that we resist change just as everyone else does, that the most reactionary version of ourselves is rooted in the same forces we encounter when we meet resistance to a change we are promoting.
Resistance is a natural, human reaction to change. Let’s embrace it, be brave enough to move through it with people, and become better for it.