Why Doth Thee Protest? 4 Steps to Overcome Resistance

Shakespearean reference aside, the question doth does beg answers to the questions:

  1. WHY don’t team members accept the why and/or the objective(s) from the leader?
  2. WHY do team members actively or passively resist on occasion?

Let’s look at some examples:


Example #1

Boss: Go move that piece of paper from one side of your desk to the other side of your desk.

Subordinate’s Initial Resistance: Why? (Even if they don’t say it out loud, the question itself slows progress and impedes trust)

Boss: Because I’m the boss and I said so.

Subordinate: Sluggishly and sloppily proceeds to comply. They’re unclear what the objective is and don’t understand the real reason WHY.

Yes, we can make the case that bosses are called that for a reason, jobs are at-will, yadda, yadda … but let’s look at a different approach with a greater likelihood of success.


Example #2

Boss: Help me by moving that piece of paper from one side of your desk to the other side of your desk.

Subordinate’s Initial Resistance: Why?

Boss: We can’t charge the customer until that piece of paper gets moved from one side of your desk to the other side of your desk.

Subordinate: They see the benefit to the boss and the customer, but aren’t connected to what’s in it for them and what role they might have besides just moving the piece of paper. Nonetheless, they oblige and move the paper.

Can we do better, still? Read on …


Example #3

Boss: The plan is for everyone to move paper across their desk so we can demonstrate effectiveness, teamwork, and proficiency in moving pieces of paper. Please help our organization grow by moving that piece of paper from one side of your desk to the other side of your desk.

Subordinate’s Initial Resistance: Why?

Boss: Once we demonstrate our ability to move paper, we will move forward with our new initiative intended to grow the organization and reward the people in it with more opportunity, more income and growth potential and more autonomy.

Subordinate: Gleefully and swiftly complies.

Victory, at last!


If you want to build a ship, don’t herd people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea. ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery

 

We all like stories, so tell the story of what the utopia you need help with will look, smell, and taste like, to us.

Give us something to be excited about!

  • You know, pretend you’re the Cinnabon bakery at the airport and we’re the travelers waiting for our plane to Newark.

Beyond just commanding us, describe in great detail the future condition you hope we will enjoy together.

In conclusion, when the occasional dark forces between employer and employee are heating up, address these 4 steps to improve your resilience and your rate of success:

  1. What is this organization’s purpose? I.e. what’s the Objective?
  2. What are we going to do to get there? I.e. what’s the Plan?
  3. What am I going to do to help? I.e. what’s my Function?
  4. What do I get out of it? I.e. what’s my Reward?

You can read more about building resilience in your leadership here: https://team-solutions.us/4-questions-improve-resilience/

[Shout out to J.B. for the question that inspired this post.]

Who else needs to know?
>