Meeting Resistance to Change Head-On


Jim sat in his manager’s office about to have his 6-month review. His boss seemed to have that look on his face. A look he’d seen before.

“Jim, I’d like to say your work is outstanding, but while we’ve been pleased with your project outcomes, your approach to your work needs improvement.”

Jim squirmed in his seat and tried to prepare himself for what would probably mean another layoff.

“I don’t want to fire you, Jim. You’ve done some good things for us since you came on board. But we need to work together to help you stop fighting needed changes that come along so you become more resilient with change,” his boss said.

“W--hat?” Jim stuttered. He sat up straighter as the realization hit him that he wasn’t being let go. He looked his boss in the eye saying, “What can I do differently?”

And so a mentoring relationship ensued between boss and employee, born of a willingness to learn and do things differently and the patient guidance of another who would take the time to encourage those positive changes.

Being agile or resilient to change is a learned behavior. It grows out of experiences of getting knocked down and getting back on your feet, then nearly being knocked down, but confidently making changes when you see they’re needed, and finally seeing problems and their solutions ahead of the curve. Since becoming agile is a life-long learning process, letting go of your resistance to change early will expedite your facility with changes. Your willingness to adopt positive behaviors will propel your success.

Jim had his share of layoffs and job changes because he had long felt the problem was outside himself. When he finally asked what he could do to improve, he was on the road to a more effective way of being and to continued improved actions. Resisting would only bring the same results over and over and Jim would continue to have problems with work.

How can you face resistance head-on and learn to be more agile with change?

  • Acknowledging something isn’t working can feel humbling, yet don’t take it personally.
  • Assume responsibility for your errors and be a role model for others to acknowledge theirs, as mistakes and failure are a natural part of the process.
  • Think and act for the betterment of all and, if necessary, even be willing to let your cherished ideas go.
  • Have checks and balances in place and if problems arise, note them clearly so you don’t have to repeat them, moving on to better ways of doing things.
  • Form trusted mentor and mentee relationships and use those valuable relationships for ongoing support.
About the Author

Laurie Sheppard is a master certified Life Coach and Career Strategist. She has been supporting positive changes with her Creating At Will®clients since 1994 and helping them overcome stuck behaviors and beliefs with her Positive Thinking Way process. Laurie is a professional speaker and a two-time author of books on change and self-esteem. She writes numerous articles, a twice weekly “Change-makers’ Blog” and newsletter for working women.


About the author

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