4 Reasons Why Your Team Is Resisting Change

Change is hard because people overestimate the value of what they have – and underestimate the value of what they may gain by giving that up
— James Belasco & Ralph Stayer

Change is never easy, but it is inevitable. Be it in your personal or your work life, embarking on a journey of change can be an arduous process. Whether you’re changing processes, structure, or even seating arrangements, you often come up against the same issue. Resistance! Whether you are the CEO leading change through your managers, or a team leader trying to lead your team through a new concept, the process of getting everyone on board is a challenging one. Many workplace arguments spring from the process of change, and being equipped to navigate the stormy seas of upsetting “the way it’s always been done” is essential for any type of leader. Often, the resistance you experience can seem illogical, unreasonable, or even completely irrational, but believe me, whether they realise it or not, your team may have a genuine reason for not embracing the change you are trying to implement. Though this usually doesn’t mean the change need not happen, but you simply need to ensure you take the appropriate steps to ensure that your team is comfortable with the change. That’s the reason for this blog, to give you an insider's view of the 4 key reasons that people so often resist change, enabling you to be prepared for the next change you need to communicate with your team!

So, without further ado, here is an insight into the 4 key reasons your team may be resisting change.

1. They don’t perceive benefit

Simply put, if you fail to communicate the benefits of the change you are pursuing, you will quickly attract resistance, and to be fair, why wouldn’t you?! If the change you are embarking on fails to resonate with the rest of your team, take a second and evaluate whether you have really communicated the value that this change will bring for them. The best way to tackle this issue is to be prepared. Take time before announcing any change and evaluate it. How does this benefit your team? How should you communicate it? What questions will they have? Doing this before jumping into the deep end, unprepared, will allow you to have a clearer mind, and better communicate the advantages and reasons for the change. Not to mention that in scrutinising the concept, you will unearth an understanding of the downsides as well!

2. They don’t see the value

The benefit is one thing, but what about the value? Is the benefit truly valuable to the team or individual you are working with? The way value will be summed up in any individual’s mind is this: Benefit – Sacrifice=Value. Meaning, that if the perceived benefit is not worth the sacrifice, why bother embarking on change at all. It’s an ROI mentality, and we all have it! Your job, is to ensure that the sacrifice is far outweighed by the benefit. Taking you back to step one, a way around this is ensuring that the benefit of the change is accurately communicated, and that any concern around the impact is clarified at this point. There is nearly always sacrifice with change, to some, what you see as a simple sacrifice could be monumental. Again, prepare for this issue before announcing the change to your team. Try to put yourself in their shoes, and understand the threats and sacrifices they will see or must make. Change is about taking people on a journey, don’t count on everyone jumping aboard from the outset, take time to nurture your teams understanding around the change, the benefit, and the sacrifice. People like to feel like they are in control. Which leads nicely to point 3…

3. They don’t feel included

No matter how beneficial or sacrificial a change may seem, one thing is for sure, people like to be involved. People like to feel like they have been part of the change, and as much as this point isn’t always possible, to the best of your ability, take people with you on this journey. Including people in decisions, in direction and in certain aspects of any change, instils a sense of ownership, a sense of control, and a new perspective from which to understand the change. No matter how large or small, ensure that your team feel involved in the change.

4. They don’t trust the Architect

Exactly as it says on the tin. If there is a lack of trust in the architect of the change, you are going to have a tough time getting people to believe in it! Often, people have a reason to not trust, whether this reason is valid or not is a separate issue, so take time to understand your team members, and their individual concerns around their lack of trust. Sometimes, it can be an easier fix than you think, and taking the time to understand their lack of trust, is the easiest way to get around it! Though you can come up against some serious trust issues when it comes to change, your commitment to understanding that lack of trust, and addressing any possible issues, can be the perfect resolution.


None of these issues can be overcome in a day, so don’t expect your team to always be enthusiastic about any new initiative from day one (unless the benefit is huge, and sacrifice nil). Never push change too quickly, be prepared to give yourself and your team enough time to understand and adjust to the idea before pushing ahead. If it ever becomes necessary to change rapidly, do so with these points in mind, and prepare a brief that can cover each of these main concerns. Offer your team time to ask questions and voice their concerns, the very fact that you have taken the time to understand their point of view can be enough to win their hearts to support you!

So, with all this in mind, what have you found to be the biggest challenge for your organisation when it comes to implementing change? Is it something completely different all together? We would love to hear from you, so write your thoughts in the comments section below!!