Resistance to change – a leader’s point of view

by | Feb 28, 2019

  • Resistance to change is not something that a leader needs to worry about
  • That’s for the people he or she employs to design and manage the change
  • A leader needs to focus communicating the vision and clearing the obstacles to change

If we look at resistance to change through the lens of a leader, do we have something different to say?


You may have noticed an abundance of goodness on the web captured under #changeblogchallenge. It was an initiative that Heather Stagl of Enclaria and I kicked off – designed to encourage more people sharing their knowledge on all things change. We designated the first quarter of the year to / be about “change resistance’.

And the contributions have been fabulous – diverse in perspectives, wealthy in knowledge. See a list at the end of this post.

Which meant of course, the stakes were high in what I would share. What can I share that I haven’t shared before here, here and here and that added value on top of what has been shared (be careful what you wish for in your clever ideas Jen!)

And it occurred to me that much of what has been shared has been at the change practitioner level, perhaps the manager dealing with change. The lens of leader was absent. And by leader I mean some-one in an executive role, or a c-suite role.

So. What should a leader do about change resistance?

Short blog post. The answer is nothing.


Yes, that’s right, nothing.

Here’s why:

  • Your role in change to articulate a vision and keep talking about that vision.
  • Your role is to ensure that you have the right people in the right roles to support the transformation.
  • Your role is to be accountable for the change and provide high level support in clearing the obstacles that are getting in the way.
  • Your role is to be scanning the horizon for what comes next and ensuring that your organisation is ready for that.

If we subscribe to the belief that resistance to change is a thing to be addressed and managed (and there is plenty of contemporary views that argue that is misplaced energy), then all you need to do is leave change resistance to your change lead and change practitioners and the managers who lead the teams. If one of your change team escalates a issue which might suggest there will be a problem with adopting the change then do what you need to do to clear the blockage. They will only be coming to you if it is valid.

Trust your change team.

Focus on the future and articulating the vision, the strategy.

Look at what’s coming next.

Clear the obstacles.

For more of what has been shared …


Julieanne Dimitrios – Change Resistance in the Costa Del Sol?

Rebecca Cattran – Reframing Change Resistance 

Incrementum Consulting – Vive La Resistance

Lena Ross – Less about change resistance, more about change response

Wendy Hirsch – Resistance to change – to overcome it, first you have to understand it 

Rich Bachelor – R3 Resisting the Resistant Resistor 

Gilbert Kruidenier – The hidden cost of resistance 

Michael Samson  – Change Resistance and the invitation of No

Martin Fenwick – Recognising Resistance

Ksenia Bitter – Change Resistance is SO 20th Century 

April K Mills – Change Perspectives and Dissolve Resistance

Karen Ferris – Resistance to Change – it can be a good thing

Aldean Jakeman – My thoughts on change resistance 

Heather Stagl – Encountering Change Resistance? Here’s why it’s a good thing 








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