How to Manage Resistance to Change

When it comes to implementing change, one thing that you must always expect is some element of resistance.  As a project manager, change is a core part of your job, and managing resistance becomes an essential skill.


Here are some ways to manage resistance, based on the type of response you might receive.

“I don’t see why we need to change.”

If you want to convince your team to make a change, you must first show them that the current situation is no longer ideal.  If most people don’t see the need for a change, they will resist it. 

“I don’t understand why we need to make this change.”

If you are having difficulty getting other people to understand the reason for the change, it is possible that more detail may be required.  Collect more details and find a new way to explain the change.  Also, if it’s possible, create a way to have your team experience the benefits of the change.  Find a way to make the change relevant.

“It is not on the top of my agenda.”

Your proposed change may not have the same priority level for all of your colleagues as it does for yourself.  Try to find someone else on your team who is ready to incorporate the change and can offer you some much-needed support.

“I don’t like this change.”

Some will express that they do not agree with the proposed change.  That is expected and you must remain open-minded and listen.  Once everyone has had an opportunity to weigh in re-examine your position.  You may have inadvertently missed some facts and now need to re-evaluate the prosed change.  

These are just a few of the responses to change you might receive.  Above all, when faced with any type of resistant response,  react in a respectful manner, be patient and reduce the risk for even more resistance.