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  • Writer's pictureTony Richards

How Do You Respond To Resistance?

There is a principle that is attached to growing an organization or growing an individual. The principle I am referencing is this: Growth does not relieve stress, growth actually increases stress. When leaders are confused about this principle, it adds to the pain they are already experiencing due to the growth they are trying to achieve. Many leaders look at those who have grown and grown their organizations and make the mistake of thinking that these leaders “have it made” or “I wish I was in their position.”

Almost on a daily basis, I encounter leaders who have not achieved this understanding about growth. Instead of embracing the resistance they encounter due to growth, they spend considerable energy on avoidance or denial. They don’t understand that when you grow an organization, the issue and problems multiply and they get different. You can tell when someone is stuck at a level by the conversations and questions they ask. If they are having the same conversations about the same issues over a 12-month period, they are not growing they are stuck. If the conversations and issues are constantly multiplying and changing, this is an indicator of growth.

When you experience opposition, obstacles, and strains, you are working your way into a different level of growth. This is in place to help you expand your capacity to expand your skillsets, experience, and wisdom to deal with more complex growth-oriented situations. The question is, how do you respond when you encounter these new issues and this new resistance pain? Do you embrace it and increase your willingness to pay the price to move on up or do you recoil and look for an easier path with lesser resistance?

This resistance can be in many forms. It can be having your sanity or competence questioned by others. It can mean having honest and sometimes brutal conversations about the reality of what is in front of you. It can mean taking risks, sometimes audacious and bolder than you have in the past. It can mean the pain of replacing people who are not going to get you to the proverbial next level. It can mean remaining relentlessly positive when in reality, you feel like you are ready to pull your hair out and lose it.

When you have the opportunity to lead a growing organization, it is going to require you and your team to pay a price for growth. You are going to have to be willing to learn more, develop more courage and challenge your tenacity. It’s going to come down to how bad do you want to be that person who is going to leave things better than you found them? Or, perhaps you will decide the price is simply too high for you to pay. You have the option of opting out of the duty. Many simply avoid making this choice altogether. They do not decide to pay the price of facing the complexities of the pain of growth and they don’t decide to hand the reins to someone else who will, they make the decision to maintain the status quo and make as few waves as possible. In today’s marketplace, this choice is not an attractive one and will only decline and worsen the mess the next leader will have to clean up.

When the leader or leaders stop growing, the organization stops growing. At every growth barrier, leaders have to deepen their skills and sharpen their minds. At every growth barrier, there will be issues involving people, strategies, structures, leadership abilities, culture, financial and more. The question will remain: How will you respond when you encounter difficult resistance to growth?

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