Dealing with resistance can be tough. It’s never fun having our efforts thwarted, or our ideas shot down, yet resistance in and of itself is rarely the problem – our response to it is. As human beings our relationship to resistance is fraught with negativity, frustration, annoyance, inconvenience, anger, upset, delays, setbacks, failures to name but a few. These can cloud our judgement and make us want to avoid the experience all together. In trying to avoid it, we often make it worse.
In order to decode resistance and get people on board with our goals and ideas, we must make resistance our friend. The more we struggle against the resistance and give into our feelings of frustration, the more blind we become to the path forward. When we let the negative feelings take hold, we can become ‘hijacked’ by our emotions. Fight or flight responses kick in and we sacrifice our ability to think logically and rationally. We act out of instinct rather than reason. We want to crush all resistance so we can feel better and get what we want.
Resistance however, is not the enemy. Our response to it is. We need to reframe resistance as an inevitable part of any worthy goal, particularly involving other people. We need to learn to expect it, accommodate it and experience it in new ways. When we embrace the existence of resistance, we no longer have a problem with it, and that’s the difference that makes the difference to our results.
Found this useful?
Anneli is a leadership speaker, mentor and co-author of Developing Direct Reports: Taking the guesswork out of leading leaders. She is currently working on her next book, ‘Decoding Resistance: The real reason people won’t do what you want’, a practical guide for increasing buy-in, reducing push back and navigating the daily barriers that impact influence, engagement and change.
Leading change program - transforming resistance to results?
Want more from Anneli? For leaders of change initiatives who need to deliver - on time and on budget, this program supports leaders to effectively diagnose and understand the resistance of key players that could jeopardise the project’s success. This is not about project management; it’s about people management - strategies for engagement, effective change communication and how to get key players on board to keep the project on track.
Contact Anneli today to find out how.
firstname.lastname@example.org @AnneliBlundell 0423 023 032