How to Face Resistance to Your Great Ideas

Leadership quote: The worst thing you can do is answer resistance early in a conversation. Image of a person pushing a round bale of hay.

When you face resistance:

#1. Relax.

Stress closes your mind.

#2. Don’t provide quick answers.

Explore their perspective. Seek input.

The worst thing you can do is answer resistance early in a conversation.

  1. Quick answers create adversarial relationships.
  2. Answers invite more objections when given to people who aren’t committed to move forward.
  3. Answers frustrate people who struggle to find a path forward.

#3. Answer hot emotion before solving difficult problems.

Frustrated people cling to the status quo. Stress makes us stupid.

#4. Open up – don’t dig in.

When you feel resistance, get curious. Defensiveness defeats you. Ask curious questions with an open heart.

  1. “Thanks for saying that. What brings this to mind for you?”
  2. “What’s important to you about that?”
  3. “What do you think we’re trying to accomplish by having this conversation?”
  4. “I’m curious. Why are you asking?”
  5. “Your thoughts are important to me. What’s your viewpoint on…?”
  6. “I hear what you’re saying. What results are you working to achieve?”
  7. “Thanks for your input. What else comes to mind?”
  8. “It sounds like you have a viewpoint on this. What led you to your conclusions?”
  9. “Let’s imagine we adopt your suggestion. What needs to be true for your suggestion to work?”
  10. “What might make this idea more workable? Less workable?”
  11. “What’s one argument in favor of this idea? What’s one argument against?”
  12. “What alternatives might help us move forward, other than continuing to endure a dissatisfying situation?”
Curiosity sparks engagement. Image of child looking deeply into grass.

Soft landings:

Create a soft-landing strip for hard questions. The sentence before your question is a landing strip.

  1. Explain an intention. “The reason I’m asking is….”
  2. Practice gratitude. “Thanks for bringing this to my attention.”
  3. Summarize. “Here’s what I think you said. Do you think I get it? If not, what am I missing?”
  4. Notice the obvious. “It seems like you feel strongly about this.”

What are some reasons people resist new ideas?

How might leaders overcome resistance to new ideas?

Still curious:

How to Move from Stupid to Smart when You’re Stressed

Unraveling Resistance to Change

Why People Resist Change