Resistance to Change

 I think it’s helpful for leaders to get it that “resistance” is a wired response of the reptilian brain. The reptilian brain is constantly monitoring the environment for danger, and any change in the environment increases risk (from a pure survival perspective). Our instinctual response is to be on the alert during times of change. Even long wished for changes are to likely to be greeted with initially stressed responses, whether in relationships or organizations. The wise leader understands this and manages their own emotions/is patient in the face of “resistance.” They structure genuine ways to engage their people in critiquing and implementing the change (much as you described).


The reactive leader/organization gets tense in the face of the tension, and fuels conflict by labeling people as “resistant.” They may even blame the victims by buying them a book or by putting them all through a class on how to “embrace change.” IMHO this shifts the focus from how they are leading (which is the more powerful systemic leverage point) to how everyone else is following, thus comforting the leaders (they aren’t the problem), insulting the followers (they are the problem), lining the pockets of “change management consultants,” wasting everyone’s time, eroding the relationship between the leaders and the followers, and decreasing the likelihood of successful implementation.

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