Handling the Resistance

The growth mindset inspires a powerful, liberating,  and empowering foundation for leaders to be catalysts for positive change in education.  Vision, charisma, creativity, and a collaborative spirit have been at the core of many a successful program.

That being said, even the most gifted change agent innovator will be confronted by resistance.  Many a talented leader has stumbled upon the push back bumps in pursuit of a better experience for our students. This resistance comes from many sources: students, teachers, parents, policy – makers.  Sometimes they even come from within.  

The most successful pioneers are highly talented in navigating the volatile seas of resistance as the tumult is as inevitable as the rough waves in the ocean. 

(Disclaimer: I do not consider myself expert in this area, rather a conscientious student)

So what differentiates the successful change agents from the crowd?  Ultimately,  their talent lies in having relationships with their people- knowing them, caring about them, including them.   Likewise, this rapport allows the leader to anticipate the resistance,  make a plan, and proactively attend to the root of the resistance- which is often times emotionally driven. 

Secondly, getting buy in from all stakeholders represents an integral process in any successful shift.   Referring back to the relationship element,  a strong rapport allows the leader to frame the opportunity in terms that each stakeholder can embrace. Further, the relationship built on trust, respect, transparency and a genuine sense that it is safe for people to share what they really feel without fear of rebuke or repercussion represents the unwavering foundation upon which change agents can lead their people.
When met with a shift that inspires in an individual a feeling of discomfort that can manifest itself in displays of resistance (conscious or otherwise), the feeling that it is safe to share those feelings and have a voice in shaping the shift in a way that alleviates the discomfort galvanizes the person feeling discomfort to the change agent. Again, the relationship is at the core. A resistor who does not feel the comfort to share feedback will see that feeling of discomfort grow, and the manifestation of those feelings potentially become increasingly disruptive in the change process.

Ultimately, providing ownership through attending to the growth of buy in, which is gained by providing people with a genuine voice which they can share safely through giving candid feedback represents the primary catalysts in leading growth,innovation, and change.


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