How to be a leader in a change-resistant workplace

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It can be frustrating to be a leader in a workplace with a culture that sticks to the status quo and doesn’t have the systems in place to reward and champion new ideas.

At our popular New Team Leader training course and our CMI and ILM management courses, we look at how new managers can embrace change for themselves as well as for their team and organisation.


Want to find your specific skills gaps when it comes to leadership and management? Take our gap analysis quiz.


Here are a few tips for inspiring change despite a risk averse culture:

1. Welcome feedback

Leaders – especially those new to their role – often get so caught up in laying out their own agenda for change that they forget to listen to their team’s ideas. A leader should ensure they effectively communicate to their workforce that they are open to feedback. When feedback is given, there should be strategies for communicating back to the person who submitted the idea and sharing progress on staff ideas to the wider company. This shows that feedback isn’t just listen to but results in real change.

Consider how you can embed processes that ensure ideas are all given due consideration. This doesn’t necessarily mean more work for you as a leader. Think about what strategic thinking you can require of staff submitting ideas. For example, if you have an idea submission form, include questions such as – what would the budget for this change be, how will it benefit employees (and which ones), how will it help the business meet its current goals? Encouraging staff to develop this management-style thinking prompts them to embrace change that meets business goals.


2. Communicate

The most common reason people don’t welcome change, even positive change, is that they don’t like uncertainty about what’s going to happen. Effective communication can help allay these fears.

Before introducing a change, ensure you have an effective strategy for communicating what these means and answering any obvious questions around the purpose, duration, and next steps of the change. If other managers report to you, ensure they have to tools to effectively communicate to their teams.

3. Develop other leaders and fill the skills gaps

Sometimes resistance can come from employees not having the skills needed to meet the new challenge or a new role. When a major change is unveiled, ensure you have a training plan in place to address technical, health and safety or management skills gaps.

Also, company-wide change is easier to implement when all managers have received proper leadership and management training. Consider ILM or CMI accredited programmes aimed at developing confident, problem-solving leaders.


Whether you’re in a top leadership position looking for mentoring or are managing your team’s professional development, consider how a leadership and management training programme could work for your organisation.


Get your business ready for the year ahead. Start looking at your own or your team’s development now to ensure you hit the ground running in 2017.



Learning and Development Consultant for the north-west

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