What To Do When You Are Encountering Resistance To Change

The demands on the NHS and on healthcare as a whole are increasing all of the time.  Longer life expectancy and advances in medicine mean that the need for services are going to add to that demand.


Faced with this challenge change and the need to make continuous change and improvement is just part and parcel of being in a leadership or management role in the NHS.


Yet are most will tell you change in theory should be easy but in practice is very challenging to achieve.  Resistance will without doubt be encountered and it might even feel at times that it is all impossible.


So what might you do when encountering resistance to change?

Listen More

People don’t resist just for the sake of it as a general rule.  Most of the time it is because they have genuine concerns or worries that they don’t have answers to.  Sometimes these might be about the personal impact.  At other times it might be related to the way service is provided and even safety.


As a leader or manager there is a very simple thing that you can do which is listen more.  When you listen you get useful insights and maybe additional information that helps you make the best decision and get the best outcome.


Ask More Questions

Most of the time there is a tendency to ask closed or just simply a few basic questions rather than really getting to heart of concerns and opinions.  Questions really deepen your understanding and help you make informed choices.  It is also likely to result in people feeling like you have considered their views rather than simply imposing your own solution.


Recognise Where People Are On The Change Continuum

Most will probably start in denial and over time reach a point of acceptance.  At different stages, people will respond differently.  Some will be more ready and willing to take ideas on board than others.  Knowing people and their style and preferences helps you to handle situations.


Think About Your Own Communication Style

You want to communicate in the best possible way and het a result.  Sometimes what we intend to communicate and actually communicate is very different.  If you are continually hitting a brick wall it might be time to reflect on your communication style.


Stay Calm and Don’t Get Frustrated

You might want to get on with things.  Sometimes it might seem like it is two steps forward and three steps back.  Accept that it will be like this from time to time, no matter how tough it might seem.


Be Realistic

We might want to go from step 1 to step 10 and in reality this is never going to happen. Keep focusing on taking small steps to achieving the results that you want.


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