Leading Change by Not Being an Ass

Leading Change by Not Being an Ass


Change is difficult. Nobody likes it.

It is made difficult when manager’s act like asses. Too often those who lead change initiatives feel that they must get everybody to accept the change. The truth is no one must accept change.

When people are forced to accept something often they rebel against it. We don’t like to do things that aren’t voluntary. Maintaining a sense of self-direction is important to all of us.

Just because people don’t like change doesn’t mean they won’t adapt. I have found many times that people get very angry at the beginning of a new initiative but quickly come to accept it once they realized that it wasn’t as bad as they imagined.

People just want others to listen to their fears and concerns.

Practicing good listening skills and empathy, rather than trying to force the change, will bring about acceptance more readily.

I have seen manager’s dig in their heels and try to force change on people. Often the attitude is, “if you don’t like it, leave”. But it doesn’t have to be an all or nothing proposition.

We should be fine with people challenging change initiatives. If at the end of the day they get on board a little constructive criticism can be good.

Maybe the conversation about the employee’s misgivings will give way to some weaknesses in the change that you hadn’t considered.

If nothing else conversation is always a good thing as it leads to understanding.

Why get angry and be stubborn? Will that make people want to fall in line? Very unlikely.

Sometimes people need to just blow off steam and talk through their fears. If you just stop and listen you may find that their fears aren’t completely unfounded. Listening helps to build trust. Once you have trust you can navigate any change more easily.

People are at the heart of change. We can’t forget this.

Too often the human gets lost in organizational shifts. We must maintain our humanity amid competition. It is good and healthy to change, to want to innovate and grow, but it shouldn’t come by sacrificing our employees and their well-being.

Before beginning a change initiative consider how this will affect your people. What are some of the fears and concerns that they will have? How will it impact their current methods for accomplishing their work? In what ways will this change impact them negatively? How will this change be positive for them? What are the long-term consequences of not implementing this change?

Keeping people at the heart of the change will help to manage it in a way that respects your employees. Don’t force them to accept the change. Help them to feel comfortable with the change. Be willing to listen. Practice an openness to considering problems with the change initiative that your employees bring to light. Demonstrate compassionate.

Getting people to accept change is a difficult process but it doesn’t have to be confrontational.

Open your heart and mind to your people. Allow them room to express themselves and be a sounding board for their fears. Win them over by showing that you care.


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