5 Answers for Resistance to Development

Some leaders refuse to change. You want them to rise. They offer resistance to development and cling to patterns that hold them down.

Resistance to development feels like pushing an unwilling rope.

You care. They’re not interested. You want them to step up. They step back.

Resistance to development feels like pushing an unwilling rope. Image of a person turning away.

5 answers for resistance to development:

#1. Validate their talent.

People don’t see their own talent.

Bob Herbold’s parents thought the guidance counselor was talking about the wrong kid when he scored high on an intelligence test. Turns out Bob was smarter than even he thought. Eventually he earned a Masters in Mathematics and a Ph.D. in computer science. He retired as the COO of a small software company you probably heard of, Microsoft (1994-2001).

Answer resistance to development by offering assessments like Strengthsfinders or VIA Character Strengths Survey (Free version of VIA is available).

#2. Raise their confidence.

Stretch assignments terrify high performing perfectionists. They don’t play unless they win.

Support when you challenge. Hire a coach. Provide training. Be a mentor. Tell them how you failed and what it did for you.

Answer resistance to development by providing a safety net.

Life is small when you’re afraid to fail.

Life is small when you're afraid to fail. Image of a puppy in a cup.

#3. Lower their confidence.

Overconfidence prolongs incompetence.

The people you want to develop are already doing a great job. Perhaps they need a new lens.

Do a 360-degree assessment. Let them see what others see. Use empathy and compassion when you kick someone in the pants.

#4. Check your culture.

Do you punish responsible failure? Or do you honor high performers when they struggle but fall short? Cheer for people when they reach high even when they botch it.

You get what you honor.

#5. Go small.

Answer objections to development by lowering expectations. What small change represents growth?

An oak grows so slow you don’t see it.

What helps people overcome resistance to development?

Still curious:

Responsible Mistake-Making: You Suck Before You Shine

7 Ways to Give Support Without Prolonging Incompetence

5 Surprising Reasons for Poor Performance You Can Solve Quickly

How to Respond Skillfully to the Three Types of Failure