Few things drive managers crazier than a staffer (or staffers) who resists change.
Their resistance at every corner is enough to make the best leaders lose their cool – and momentarily lose control of their people skills.
Try these five steps for handling resistors:
1. Stop the conversation
When it’s obvious a staffer is resisting a necessary step, say “Let’s stop here. We both have work to do, and we can talk about it again some other time.”
Don’t let it turn into a bitch session. Let the situation cool off for a while.
2. Recap the original goal
When it’s time to broach the subject again, start with a recap:
“I need to explain the new situation we all face and gain your help in handling it.”
3. Describe what happened
Try to move beyond the last conversation. For instance:
“When we last talked, you expressed resistance. That makes it harder to focus on the key issue, which is …”
Bring it back to the change that needs to be made.
4. Be empathetic
Leaders gain loyalty when they empathize with employees. In this situation, you can say:
“I know that I’m asking you to change how you’ve done things. That can frustrate anyone.”
You’re not apologizing for your decision, and you’re not letting the resistor off the hook either.
5. Recruit their help
Now get the resistor’s help in coming to a resolution.
Try this: “I want us to figure out how we can make the best of this.”
Or “I have some ideas that we could try, but I also want to know how you think we should proceed from here.”