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3 Reasons people resist your leadership

Don’t expect people to automatically follow you because you have a leadership title. If you sign their pay check they may conform but won’t necessarily follow.

Resistance isn’t always bad; it may reflect healthy skepticism. Healthy resistance creates environments where individuals, initiatives, and innovations prove their worth to people with brains. However, resistance may signal deeper issues and larger matters.

People resist your leadership because you’re irrelevant to them. The hard truth is you aren’t adding value or providing channels that enhance their contribution and worth. You aren’t helping them matter. Here’s a simple challenge, ask yourself and those close to you what value you offer? How do you enrich, enable, and encourage the people around you?

Leadership is helping others matter.

People resist your leadership because they aren’t convinced you understand them and their concerns. Feeling understood enables people to personally open up and become open to your ideas.

Leaders understand before being understood.

People resist your leadership because you’re going somewhere they don’t want to go. Purpose, values, and vision determine direction. If your organization doesn’t want to go where you want to go, find a new organization.

In addition, people may agree with your direction but disagree with the methods you employ for getting there. I’d like to minimize this source of resistance but can’t. Methods are where the rubber hits the road; they touch us where we live. Even if you agree on larger goals and targets, if you don’t agree on methodologies you aren’t aligned; persistent resistance is inevitable.

Facing Resistance

When resistance is an expression of healthy skepticism, deepen alignment through information, engagement, improvement, and adaptation.

On the other hand, resistance due to colliding purpose, values, and vision is a train wreck waiting to happen.


What reasons for resistance to leadership can you offer?

How can leaders effectively face resistance?

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