The Enemy of Change: Is it the leader's fault or the team's fault?


Change is a constant in organizations, but employees remain the number one enemy of change. It's almost as if employees' default to defensive and resistant reactions the moment they hear the words 'new initiatives will be rolled out'. We have discussed some ways employees can rein in their mishmash of emotions and prevent it from clouding good judgement such that they aren't resisting change simply for the sake of resisting change. Now, it's time to ask yourself, as a leader, if it's really entirely their fault, or if you have a part to play as well. Have you ever questioned why they react the way they do?


A lot of the times, resistance to change can be attributed to both management level mistakes, and employee mistakes. Most change management decisions are made at the C-level, and employees are often kept out of the loop. This lack of communication is what causes the employees to react the way they do, even if management isn't holding back information on purpose. Sometimes, management simply feels like the details of the change aren't important enough or relevant to share with the whole organization.


This is why the fundamental concept for overcoming change is communication and trust. Rather than simply repeating the policies verbatim from a script and conveying those terms, management can adopt story telling as a powerful tool to allow for collective understanding of the change throughout the organization. Help employees gain clarity on what exactly is happening and better yet, the background as to why it is happening. It is only when people understand the reasoning behind the changes implemented, that they can get behind it and support it.


The key to handling problems and conflict within an organization is to keep the channels of communication wide open.

With communication, the unknown becomes known and the experience of fear and worry amongst employees can be dispelled. Trust steps in when the stakeholders affected by the change are able to participate and be involved in the creation and development of the change policies and initiatives. By inviting people to play a part in the process, they get the necessary time to digest the information and situation. Remember:

Do it with them, not to them.

Remember: Changes happening to someone creates resistance but change happening with someone creates results. Use the tactics of trust and communication to overcome change resistance, and make the team aware that managers and supervisors are available to provide the necessary support in the area.

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