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How to Handle Resistance in a Team?

You cannot please everybody. No matter how benevolent or noble one’s intentions are, there will always be someone somewhere who will try to oppose it. Resistance is inherent in any change because it is a natural human reaction to feel indifferent or even critical to something new.

In handing teams, groups and organizations, resistance is a normal phenomenon that every leader must be prepared to handle. In other words, leaders should almost always anticipate resistance in any endeavor or plan that one wishes to pursue. As such, it would be fundamental to including plans on how to handle resistance in one’s plans or objectives. To do this, leaders should anticipate the possible reasons behind that could cause resistance to a plan. Solutions that will address such reasons or causes should form part of the plan before executing it.

Possible reasons for resistance to change include conflicts in principles or values between the members and new the plan. In lieu of which, it is therefore important to make consultations in planning and ensuring the participation of all members so that the objectives of the plan remain in parallel or consistent with the values and principles of the members of the group.

Because the democratic approach of planning is considered so that the formulation of objectives involves the consensus of the greater majority, it goes without saying the leaders should have an open and willing heart to listen to the suggestion of the group members. It must be noted that every member of a team is a stakeholder, hence it is but right for every member to have a voice to any issues or decision making that has a direct impact on them.

Moreover, consultation is important because no group leader is all knowing. It is important to get resources from other members of the group because after all, every one may have a better idea, which the whole group can adopt. Incidentally, the participation of the group members also help reinforces their sense of importance and belongingness to the group. This in turn also helps in minimizing resistance to plans and changes.

One of the most critical provisions of every fundamental law of the land is its recognition that it is subject to change. In the same token, leaders should not regard their plans with finality. All people are liable to commit mistakes. Moreover, our environment is dynamic and may require continuous change in our group in order to be more responsive and relevant to new demands. Leaders should therefore create opportunities or rooms for bending. Flexibility allows people to accommodate more changes in plans. It also helps in creating room for settlement or compromise for conflicts that cannot be resolved and continuously causes resistance.

Finally, honesty and transparency should always be promoted. Human relationships including those between leaders and followers are formed out of trust. And the only way to earn trust is through honesty and transparency. Leaders should keep all members informed. All plans and tasks should be clear. All cards should be laid down. Any form of deception or trickery will damage or crumble trust. And once trust is tainted, all other plans or endeavors that a leader likes to pursue regardless of its nobility or goodness will always be casted with a shadow of doubt that will provoke resistance.

Originally posted 2013-12-01 08:37:54.

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