POWER – Employee Resistance to CHANGE

PREVIOUS: Manipulation in biz (#2)

Managers & supervisors need to see employees’ (good or bad) reactions to organizational changes as a normal part of the restructuring process.

√ Anger
Some employees are so resistant to change they become frustrated & angry. a typical reaction when employees feel a loss of control over their work environment, or worry that their job security is being threatened. If they suppress the anger will  cause an increased stress level. If it’s overt, it can end up in emotional outbursts.

√ Gossip
Gossip, always an organizational challenge (& staple), will escalates during periods of change. Employees who experience a loss of power & control can respond with frustration, anger & disbelief, resorting to vicious gossip or “back-stabbing”, which obviously is detrimental to a positive forward movement toward restructuring

√ “Not me!”
Employees asked to do a different job or change the way they currently do a particular task may react with: “Not me!” They may deny being able make the proposed change &/or suggest that someone else is better suited for the job. Their initial reaction is from being satisfied with the status quo, & fear of the unknown.

√ “I quit!”
A few employees prefer to quit rather than make the required changes. Unfortunately for them, changes are going on in other organizations as well. Choosing to stand on one’s principles & fight the ‘new’ by quitting may make their point, but usually at their own expense, not the organization’s.

√ Panic!
Some employee find comfort in predictable routine, & panic at the mere mention of change. They worry about chow to deal with major shifts in the way they normally do their work. They’ll resist, not out of stubbornness, but rather out of fear about how the changes will affect them personally, & so unable to deal rationally with the “new regime”. Some may even become physically ill.

√ “What will this do to my job security?”
It’s natural for employees to first consider the impact of change on their own job security & the possible financial impact, & only secondly regard the needs of the organization. They can’t help wondering what will happen to their position if tech advances are added, or if downsizing creates losses. Will changes result in less work for them, or even do away with their job altogether?

√ “Who’s in charge here?”
When a company is restructuring, it’s natural for employees to question leadership. Working for a new supervisor may make it hard to change allegiance from one  manager to another. If employees have not been kept in the communication loop & so don’t see the benefits of the new policies, they’re likely to question the wisdom of the new leadership. 

These are people with a good amount of self-confidence & clear sense of personal competence. They’re open-minded, seeing change as a benefit – for everyone. When aligned with a supervisor, they can support & ‘sell’ organizational shifts to other employees.

√ Enthusiasm
Some employees naturally approach life’s challenges more enthusiastically than others, able to embrace newness. Instead of picking apart a proposed change to find all the ways it won’t work, they see it as a natural part of the organization’s growth. Supervisors lucky enough to have such employees need to support & nurture them, since their enthusiasm can ‘infect’ coworkers, which helps make implementing changes more palatable for everyone.

√ “Maybe I could adjust to this change . . . .”
Some employees watch from the sidelines, but stay open-minded. After observing for a while, they may agree to give required changes a chance. While not initially eager participants, they’re at least willing to consider adjusting. This includes learning new techniques & procedures, without sabotaging.

√ “This is a challenge!”
Employees who see change as a challenge can rise to the occasion, since they know they have what it takes to be a contributing team player. With a “can do” attitude, they’re open to new ideas, will ask relevant questions & feel confident in their ability to learn whatever new info or skill needed to complete projects. They may admit a new task is difficult, the procedure at first a bit cloudy, & the outcome unknown or questionable, but they’re committed to solving problems.

√ Positive Vision
A few employees look at the big picture & visualize possibilities.Their positive attitude toward change is based on a realistic awareness of the marketplace in their specific industry & the company’s competitive position in it, which helps them trust leadership. Feeling enthusiastic about the company’s future, these employees create a positive vision for their coworkers in a time of confusion, which encourages them to also consider future benefits.
(Modified from peterstark.com)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.