Resistance to change

It is an often stated view that people don’t like change – unless they are leading it!

For most people in a work environment, change comes from above. It may be driven by external forces such as changes in the costs of raw materials, customer demands or competition or may be driven by internal factors such as a changes in staffing, new systems or services. One way or another, change can be perceived by employees as inevitable, bad and out of their hands.

Why is there resistance to change?

Changes to work routines can be viewed by some employees as criticism ( "what’s wrong with the way I’ve always done this?") or a fad. For many, change requires the development of new skills and attitudes, particularly the use of IT. This in turn can lead to leaders becoming learners and for some, this is an uncomfortable place to be. Changes to routines require effort especially when new routines must be developed and practiced, new skills learned and old habits broken.

Workplace change, in most cases, needs to be managed. Employees need to see the opportunities that change offers. The management of change involves much more than ensuring employees have the skills to use a new system or deliver a new service. If changes are to be effective and sustained, the whole organisation must support them.

The basics of leading change

Back to the Managing change page