Getting Your Team to Rally Around Change

How do you involve those who are resistant to change?

One of the most positive actions leaders can take during times of change management is to involve employees in the change. Leveraging your pool of talent helps your team rally around the change.

Unfortunately, employees often feel as if the change is happening to them and that they have no choice in the matter. This can lead to resistance, fear and skepticism about the value of the change.

Michelle Page-Rivera, Practice Director with Slalom Consulting, a strategic Management Consulting firm, offers key steps leaders can take to drive change engagement and adoption:

1) be clear and transparent about the change

2) communicate early and often

3) involve employees at every step throughout the change

4) be on the lookout for emerging leaders who surface during times of change and become advocates that others will follow.
During times of change, leaders really need to be aware that employees feel like change is happening to them, that they have no choice in the matter, that they're seeing things that are happening to them and they begin to resist it. They begin to question. They begin to become skeptic about the value of the change.

I think one of the key things that leaders can do is to be very clear and transparent about the change, and communicate early and often. Be very clear on what they know and what they don't know, because employees will most certainly fill in the white space with their own ideas and rumors, so to the point of just being very clear and communicative with your team is important.

The second thing that I think is really important for leaders to do is to involve the employees in the change. Every employee. There are many decisions that are being made every single day when change happens, and leveraging the employees and the great talent that you're surrounded by will enable the whole team to rally around the change much better. It may be as simple as if there's a change in changing the floor plan of where you all work and having the teams come together and name the conference rooms, for example. It may be as simple as that. But having individuals have a part of it makes it be less about change happening to them and more about them defining what change is going to look like for them.

I think the natural tendency is for individuals to either resist or want to run away from the change, especially if they see it as being extremely disruptive and they're a little afraid about what it's going to mean for them. But I challenge everyone to start thinking about the opportunities that present themselves during times of change, and instead, moving yourself towards that. There might be some gems of opportunity to allow you to grow and develop as an individual or as a leader.

I strongly believe that during times of great chaos is when also great things can happen. You can almost take advantage of the being unsure or uncertain, and the chaos that surrounds the change. That's when a lot of leaders surface because they find opportunities to grab a hold of something and define it and mold it and build it, and support the change, and then become an advocate for it that other individuals can follow.

Michelle Page-Rivera

Michelle Page-Rivera is a business consultant with 20+ years experience in providing business management and human capital consulting services to Fortune 500 clients. She is managing director with Slalom Consulting in Atlanta, a strat...

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