This post examines power-driven resistance and gives the project leader guidance on managing power-driven resistance to change.
Change, particularly change in the public sector today, can have a big impact on management positions. The austerity measures across government mean that organisations need to reshape their services. This often leads to restructuring and flatter organisational structures.
This post is part of a mini-series on managing resistance to change. Please see our related posts
In turn, managers anticipate reduced status, authority or autonomy and attempt to obstruct the change initiative. This is power-driven resistance to change.
People perceive that the proposed change will lead to a loss of power, autonomy and self-control. That is, they fear reduced status and autonomy.
When implementing change keep an eye out for power-driven resistance to change as this will undoubtedly have a negative impact on the change initiative. Managers that fear the loss of power are usually in positions of influence and can easily disrupt how your action plan is implemented. From their position of authority they take over change programmes or projects and propose alternative strategies to undermine your plans.
What’s more, they obstruct change through their negative attitude and passive-aggressive behaviour. They achieve their goal—obstruction—with over-compliance or repeated failure to deliver on the tasks they are responsible for. Their hope is that changes in circumstances will make the initiative obsolete or irrelevant or at the very least introduce delay.
Managing Power-Driven Resistance to Change
Managing power-driven resistance to change requires tact and a good understanding of your stakeholders. Therefore spend time learning about stakeholder influence and make sure you build support with your executive sponsor and senior stakeholders.
It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end. – Leonardo da Vinci
Whilst you may not have sufficient authority to directly deal with power-driven resistance to change those resisting change will know when you have the backing of your executive!
Have Your Say
How do you help people through change? How do handle power-driven resistance to change? Please join the discussion.
Creative Commons image courtesy Ville Miettinen.