Encourage people to openly express their thoughts and feelings about the change.
Create an environment that fosters open communication and exchange of ideas. Actively reach out to employees—using informal hallway conversations, more formal one-on-one meetings, e-mail, and other channels—and ask them how they’re managing the change effort.
When resistance occurs, listen carefully.
While it’s important to explain the benefits of a change program, employees who are resistant to the change don’t always want to hear an explanation of why the change is necessary. Instead, work to understand their resistance by exploring their concerns and by taking their feelings and comments seriously.
Treat resistance as a problem to solve, not as a character flaw.
Resisters may provide valuable information about a change program—information that you may not be aware of. For example, a resister may reveal an unanticipated consequence of a projected change that could result in a potential threat to either the unit or organization. Instead of dismissing the resister as someone who is negative or inflexible, try to understand his or her rationale and sources of motivation. Doing so can open up new, unexpected possibilities for realizing change.
Once you understand the nature of their concerns, bring people together to discuss and deal with the perceived problems.
If people feel that they’ve been heard and have had opportunities to discuss problems and suggest solutions, they are more likely to support the decisions made around the change initiative. Address all concerns head-on and provide people with as much information as possible.