nexus point | Leadership Development ~ Talent Management ~ Realising Potential

Dealing With Resistance

DEALING WITH RESISTANCE

SOURCE:  Block, P. (2000).  Flawless Consulting. 2nd Edn.  Pfeiffer.  San Francisco, CA.

o      First thing, resistance is normal.

o      It is a normal response when people feel like something is going to be or is being imposed on them.

o      It’s not necessarily logical (get down to the source of the resistance and you’ll be able to deal with it – like get people to explain exactly how they see the ‘thing’ will be a problem for them, and usually it will blow itself out!  Might take a bit of digging to get there!)

o      Second thing, never take it personally!

o      Third – deal with resistance in a ‘Zen-like’ manner – don’t resist it, don’t fight it, just get it.

o      Fourth – have them do most of the work!  If you’re doing most of the talking, they’re not generating anything and are probably still resisting.  Get them working – that will get them engaged!

o      Fifth – in the end, you want to leave these people acknowledged – that they are resisting or objecting says they are committed people!  If they didn’t care, they just wouldn’t care!  They’re putting energy into resisting!  You just want to help that resistance blow over, then tap into some deeper quality in them – like how important it is to them to ……… (fill in their own blank!)

o      Have the presence of mind to get that what they’re doing is resisting, and to get what form it’s taking:

o      Burying you in questions,

o      Putting you off,

o      Saying one thing and doing another,

o      Outright attack,

o      Confusion,

o      Silence.

o      What things will they blame?  Lack of time, information, practicality, understanding?  That it’s being ‘imposed on them’?  How can you deal with that?

o      Say to them what they are doing, like

o      “You seem to be putting this off.  What’s that about?”, or

o      “You seem confused about this.  What is the confusion for you?”, or

o      “You are very abrupt in your assessment of this.  Why is that?”, or

o      “You have a lot of objections.  Why is that?”, or

o      “You look like you have a lot on your mind right now, and not a lot of space for this.” Etc etc etc.

o      THEN, AFTER YOU HAVE SAID THIS, BE SILENT.  BE WILLING FOR THAT SILENCE TO BECOME UNCOMFORTABLE!  YOU WANT TO GET THEM TO SPEAK INTO IT.  THEY WILL IF YOU JUST STAY WITH THE QUESTION AND THE SILENCE!

o      The point of this is that they can just be heard, and you can know exactly what you’re dealing with!  That works for both of you!

o      Get really interested in their objections.  You’re not feeding or fueling them, and you’re not dismissing them, you’re just interested!  What difference do you think this could make?

o      What do they think that this new project means that it doesn’t really mean?

o      If they bombard you with problems, what can you give back to them to work out?  Their questions and objections are valid, but they are not reasons to not go ahead!  They are things to work out!  Get them doing the working out!!

o      Given that this is not negotiable, how can THEY work it out?  Do NOT fall into the trap of them trying to get you to create a solution FOR them.  It will rarely work, it won’t be theirs, they’ll have no ownership of it, and they’ll blame you!

o      People value control!  Show them where they’ll have control in the new system.

o    Ask them (when there’s enough space for this conversation) how they think it could be better for them in the new system.

o    When they present you with fears, concerns, get that communication, and respond by asking them what the potential is here?

o      Who’s already on-side that you can call on to help ‘rally the troops’ here?

Find it!

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