Resistance to Change is Proportional to the Size of Change

Generally speaking, in the workplace, resistance to change is proportional to the size of the change. If you've been offered a better vending deal by one soda vendor than by the current one, and starting next week the break room will have new machines instead of the current ones, there will definitely be grumbling. But it will mostly be just that: grumbling followed quickly by acceptance - particularly if you tell team members that it means soda prices won't go up for a year!

However, with major changes: those involving employee re-classification, work hours, overtime policy, or changes to the promotion schedule, leaders must be prepared to deal with more resistance and a certain amount of anger or bewilderment. These are complex changes and management communication must be at its best in these situations. The whole concept of team building can be severely shaken if team members feel like a major change is being forced on them without their input.

With big changes, you should ideally work with each team member on their own goal setting and professional development in light of the changes. Spelling out to workers exactly what control they have with the new paradigm shift will go a long way toward helping them accept the changes. It is only natural for every team member to want to know what is in it for them, and you should make sure that they know exactly what is in it for them, whether it's a better office, new equipment, an assistant, a raise, or expanded control over certain aspects of their job.

Leadership development must never take place in a vacuum. That's because changes affect everyone in the workplace, and workers who feel cut off from decision making, or who feel like they aren't getting the information they need will rapidly lose respect for their leaders. Not only will morale suffer, but employee loyalty can suffer. Disgruntled employees who leave can leave you short staffed, and disgruntled employees who stay can poison the atmosphere for everyone. For big changes or small, effective, honest communication throughout the change process is the key to success.