Healthcare Training: Deal with the Resisters

Most of the resisters could be more passive or indirect in their resistance. And their resistance slows up the change process in softer yet damaging ways. So, it's important to know the three top warning signs of resisting change and how to deal with it. Read this expert healthcare training article for more.

Number one, an employee who ordinarily does his or her work without much fuss suddenly becomes either irritated, frustrated or upset with their work. Not just once but frequently, even chronically.

An employee – number two -- who ordinarily completes work in good time begins missing deadlines, coming in late, again, not just once but with increasing frequency.

Thirdly, an employee who usually has decent enthusiasm for their work is now lethargic, has low energy levels is basically dragging around the workplace.

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So, let's say you have an employee who ordinarily handles co–work with equanimity. And she comes into the manager's office all agitated and very much not in her usual character and exclaimed, “I just about had it. I came in this morning and my inbox already full and everybody's hounding me, got a put a rush on this, get mind out right away. ‘What do you mean you're not done yet’ It's only 11 o'clock and I'm tearing my hair out.”

The manager dealing with the immediate reason to be upset, logically replies, “Calm down, it's no big deal. I'll take care of it.” Well, at that, the employee is likely to just get more heated. “What do you mean calm down? This is insane. I can't believe what they expect me to do.” Manager is trying to, you know, settle things down and says, “I said I'll get -- take care of it.”

Well, employee is now further upset by what she feels isn't unsympathetic hearing by the manager. And the manager is annoyed because he had to deal with an emotional scene that only went from bad to worst. Frankly, who can blame the manager? All he wants to do is handle whatever the problem is and get on with his day.

All this upset and emotional outpouring from the employee is nuisance. But you see, since this is an employee who usually handles their work with calm and good humor, the reason for the emotion hasn't been dealt with at all. And that reason needs to be explored since it probably has something to do with the ongoing change.

So, here;s what you need to do as suggested by our  expert in one of the management audio conferences

1) Stay calm and in control: Don't blow up at the person or express your own frustration at them. This is neither the time nor the place for that.

2) Pace the emotion: What I mean by that is respect the employees’ negative emotional state by acknowledging what the person is feeling.

You don't get into why they are feeling it at this point. How they are justified or not justified in feeling it, you're simply acknowledging that, yes this is what the person is feeling. You don't agree or disagree, you just acknowledge it.

Now anyone’s dearest wish when confronted by an angry, upset or crying person is for them to calm down. However, telling someone to calm down usually only inflames them. Acknowledging how they are feeling, allow someone to calm down on their own.

3) Lead: Let's look at how the manger could handle the situation differently in the interest of defusing resistance to change. The employee comes in and very agitatedly exclaims that, you know, “Everybody's at me, everybody's hounding me, it's only 11 and I'm tearing my hair out.”

The manager though would reply differently saying something like, “It's a very frustrating situation.” He's pacing. The manager is being emphatic by acknowledging the employee's frustration.

Now the employee feeling a little bit acknowledged will start to calm down and say something like, “Well yeah, it's driving me nuts.” And the manager will continue to pace for a little bit and say something like, “Well, that's totally understandable. It would drive anybody nuts.”

The manager is acknowledging the general frustration anyone would feel in such a situation. He is not making the employee right or wrong. At this point, if the employee seems to be calming down, the manager can suggest whatever solution to the immediate problem he feels is appropriate like, “I'll talk to so and so and see how we can improve your workflow. Take some of the pressure out. How does that suit with you?” And that's what we call a lead. The manager is leading the employee to the problem solving stage.

Now if the employee accepts what the manager proposes, then the manager can move on and lead the employee further to continue to problem solve and figure out what's really going on.

The manager would do so by saying something like, “You know, you are usually very level headed and don't get upset by much. I'm wondering if the changes the company is making has been bothering you in any way. I know a number of people have been anxious about it.” And then, wait.

Healthcare Conference Tip: The employee may open up in the moment or may think about it and come back later to the manager. Either way, the employees’ probable difficulty in handling the change has been made acceptable. “A number of people have been anxious.” And an opening offered by the manager to talk about it. The honesty of this exchange often makes it possible for the employee to see and deal with his or her resistance.

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