4 Powerful Responses to Resistance

One of my embarrassing leadership blunders was allowing passion and vision to blind me to the interests of others. You either agreed with me or you were a roadblock.

Sadly, my strategy was to convince everyone I was right. Just lovely!



Leaders who need to be right:

  1. Invite resistance.
  2. Judge others by conformity.
  3. Use coercion to get what they want.


Forward movement eventually encounters resistance. People don’t get it, don’t like it, don’t want it.

Your response to resistance determines how far you go.


Leadership-entitlement is the destructive belief that leaders deserve unquestioned obedience. “Do what I say because I’m the boss.”

Entitled leaders struggle with followers who have minds and hearts.

Successful leaders find ways to move forward with people who think for themselves.


Resistance is an invitation to understand another’s perspective not an indictment of your leadership. The message of resistance is understand me, not pressure me.

Pressure escalates resistance until someone eventually gives in. Those who give in are close to giving up.

Successful leaders learn to pull-with not push-against.


You can’t motivate. You can influence.

“Get past this notion that motivation is something that one person does to another…,” Daniel Pink, author of, Drive, referring to a conversation with Edward Deci.

4 Powerful responses to resistance:

#1. Humility rather than entitlement.

  1. Remain open hearted.
  2. Drive toward organizational objectives.

Humility without drive is apathy. Drive without humility is arrogance.

#2. Transparency about goals.

  1. My goals are ….
  2. What are your goals?
  3. What’s important about what you want?

#3. Candor about the brutal facts.

  1. What’s frustrating about this?
  2. How are we pulling in different directions?
  3. How do your goals and my goals align?

#4. Kindness during interactions.

  1. What am I doing that blocks our connection?
  2. What can I do to make you feel supported?

What strategies do you employ when you encounter resistance?

Bonus: Daniel Pink on taking perspective (1:25): 

The book Daniel mentioned in the interview: “To Sell is Human.”