By Mystie Johnson-Foote, MD, MBA

Leading an organization is challenging regardless of the size or industry, especially when something–it could be anything–needs to shift from one direction to another. There will most definitely be a spectrum of responses from those that adapt early to those that dig their heels in and resist change in every way possible. To make matters more challenging, as a leader, you may experience your own resistance to the change as well.

This is where having a growth mindset can be invaluable. In our ever-evolving, rapidly changing world, being able to adapt, change and move forward is essential, and most of the time inevitable. So you must be able to find a way to bring yourself around and to be the voice of reason for your team and others around you. When you stop being a victim of change, and become a leader of change you open yourself to new possibilities, as well as opportunities for personal and professional growth. Here are some tips to help you lead change:

Lead yourself first. As a leader, you should be aware of your own accountability and ownership to change. If you are continually functioning below the line, in victim mode, you will be ineffective in leading others through change. 

  • Begin by examining your own reactions/emotions related to change. 
  • Name the change and approach the change from a place of curiosity. 
  • Then name your feelings toward it. 
  • Think about the change and gain an understanding of it. 
  • If the goal of the change isn’t clear, get clarity and be sure you can communicate it. 
  • Now you are in a space where you can choose to manage your reaction
  • When you manage yourself, you can own the change.

Lead others next. Having gained your own self-awareness and shifted your mindset away from resisting change, you can help others move forward. With any change, there is something old that has to stop so something new can begin. Recognize that when someone has dug into resisting change, they will need your support to work their way back out. Some steps to help you with this include:

  • Identify the underlying concerns
  • Provide information and knowledge
  • Emphasize the benefits of the change
  • Communicate clearly and often
  • Consider a celebration or activity that focuses on what stops, starts, and continues to allow closure
  • Acknowledging emotional attachments to things that existed before can help create the space to make the transition from resistance to ownership.

Resisting change is a natural response for most of us, however, when you take responsibility for your own attitude and growth you will be able to more effectively lead your team, ultimately, opening the door for new possibilities.

If you find you could use support in any aspect of planning, transition, or change, we’d love to talk with you. We have helped many of our clients work through challenges and walk the path to greater personal and organizational success, we’d love to help you too. Contact us for a complimentary consultation at or call us at 970-279-3330.

Our mission is to give voice and action to an emerging future. As a partner in your success, we would love to come alongside you to help you find your voice, see your vision, and imagine what the right action could be for you, your team, and your organization.