Change And The Fear Of Conflict

This month I am writing about some of the key reasons we are afraid to change. Today's focus is the fear of conflict. A frequent comment I hear after a program on change is "I want to change but my _______________ (insert boss, co worker, spouse or friend here) will never go for it." That's a safe thing to say and takes the pressure off of us. Unfortunately, it also removes any chance of taking a step forward to something better.

The next time you are faced with a similar dilemma, consider these tips:

  • Think about some of desired outcomes of the other person before you discuss the change with them. Then position the change in such a way that they can see that the change can be a bridge to achieving something they want as well.
  • Reflect on what will really connect with them. If it is not their desired outcomes, consider something else. Some people connect with facts. Others need an emotional picture created for them about what will happen if the changes are not made. Still others may need to know how not changing will impact others who are important to them.
  • Acknowledge the worst-case scenario. They are already contemplating it, so let them know you are thinking about it too. Talking about it often helps the other person to see that the outcome would not be as severe as they originally thought.
  • Agree on a small step. Determine a small step needed in the change process and seek their support with it. Then work extremely hard to be successful with that one step. You have gained some credibility with them if you are successful and can use that momentum to keep things moving in the right direction.

Change is rarely easy because it requires us to leave our comfort zone for a least a short period of time. Why not be the one to make the first move instead of waiting on someone else-the clock is ticking.