Picture this: You’re settling on a new automation program shown to help streamline account data and close payments more effectively.
You’re excited about the time it’s going to save your team members and the money it’s eventually going to save your company.
The one hiccup? One or more staffers who need to be brought up to speed quickly don’t share your enthusiasm.
You sense resistance on their part to learn a new way of doing things. Or maybe they’re worried about their continuing roles at your company.
Some people hear the word “automation” and assume it means “I may not have a job for much longer.”
Whatever the concerns may be, you can sense the palpable lack of buy-in, and it threatens to hamper the project until you can turn attitudes around.
Positive attitudes make the transition easier
You know from experience when the workload’s about to increase and change is on the horizon, it’s always easier to navigate when everyone buys in.
If you can keep the conversation with “resisters” positive, it’s a win-win for them and you.
Try these five steps for handling resisters:
1. Take a short time-out
When it’s obvious a staffer is resisting a necessary change that has to happen, your best bet may be to take a time out and revisit the conversation the next day.
For example: “Let’s stop here. We both have work to catch up on. I’d like to talk again tomorrow at 2.”
Putting the discussion on pause keeps things from getting personal. Let the situation cool off for 24 hours.
2. Recap & move on to goals
When it’s time to broach the subject again, start with a recap: “I need to explain the new situation we all face and gain your help in handling it.”
Try to move beyond the previous frustrating conversation: “When we talked yesterday, you expressed some concerns. What I need from you today is to start focusing on [the project].”
Bring it back to the crucial work ahead.
3. A little empathy can go a long way
Leaders gain loyalty when they empathize with employees. In this situation, you can say: “I know that I’m asking you to change how you’ve done things. That can frustrate anyone.”
Or: “You may be worried about your role here. I want you to be a part of our team and help us succeed.”
You’re not apologizing for your decision, just acknowledging you hear the other person’s side of the story.
4. In the end, results matter the most
Assuming the resisters aren’t afraid of working harder and learning new things, you’ll get the ball rolling.
We’ve all worked with people who gripe when you give them the chance, but when the rubber meets the road, they do what they’re asked to do and do it reasonably well.
You may still hear gripes from some folks as a change is being implemented.
A good reply: “I hear you. We knew it wasn’t going to be be easy. But I promise you it’s going to pay off in the long run. [Give a tangible example.]”
5. Keep the communication channels open
Keep in mind you may gain some worthwhile info from staffers’ “gripes.”
For example, maybe there’s a problem with a new accounting program, or a software vendor isn’t providing the timely customer support it promised your team.
Those are the kinds of grips you want to hear about ASAP!