Dealing with Resistance

How defining your goals allows leaders to better manage resistance
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Any­time we do impor­tant work, we WILL face Resis­tance

It is pret­ty much a guar­an­tee. 

Peo­ple won’t like what we’re doing. They may even let us know (to our face). They’ll cheap­en our hard efforts and make us feel bad. And a com­mon ten­den­cy would be to com­pro­mise — to give in and give up. Some of us may even take those com­ments per­son­al­ly.

Some­times Resis­tance is loud. Peo­ple will tell us they don’t like what we’re doing and ask a mil­lion ques­tions about our motives. They may hold some kind of cam­paign and protest. Or they’ll sug­gest that what we’re doing isn’t impor­tant. 

Oth­er times (maybe more often?), Resis­tance is qui­et and pas­sive. Noth­ing spe­cif­ic is said, but there’s a lack of involve­ment or excite­ment that shows us they don’t like what we’re doing. Resis­tance can even take place in our own mind.

SO... what do we do about it?

Before I offer a pow­er­ful tool to keep us on track, here are 4 steps for deal­ing with Resis­tance:

1. Rec­og­nize Resis­tance is inevitable. It will show up. It’s not going to go away. Ever. That means what we are doing is start­ing to work and it’s being noticed. 

2. Embrace your team and com­mu­ni­ty. You have a group of peo­ple right here in this thread who wants to help you suc­ceed. If you’re tak­ing some­thing per­son­al­ly, LET US KNOW. You are not alone! We are here for you! If you face resis­tance, we can be pray­ing for you, and help you lead.

3. Greet Resis­tance when it shows up. The worst thing we can do is ignore the Resis­tance. Begin by say­ing “hel­lo Resis­tance!” when it shows up in what­ev­er form it takes. And in your head, just whis­per to your­self “I think I’m fac­ing Resis­tance right now.” This sim­ple phrase acti­vates the part of your brain that is more delib­er­ate and thought­ful rather than fast and thought­less. 

4. Stay focused on our end game. Specif­i­cal­ly on Sun­day morning’s our end game is that peo­ple would think “I’m com­ing back next week.” We must stay focused on this and remind our­selves and our team mem­bers that every Sun­day is someone’s first Sun­day and we want to even­tu­al­ly bring them into a grow­ing rela­tion­ship with Christ. 

A pow­er­ful tool for stay­ing on track... 

Clarify the win. 

Anoth­er way to deal with Resis­tance is to clar­i­fy the win. Every­one wants to win. When we are clear on what it looks like to win, peo­ple can bet­ter eval­u­ate what we’re doing. Most peo­ple are already eval­u­at­ing what we are doing based on their own inner-defined win. Some­times this is what there’s Resis­tance — what we’re doing doesn’t match THEIR win.

Your role: Restate the win fre­quent­ly. It may feel like we are a bro­ken record at times, but this just means what we are say­ing is start­ing to spread. We must remind peo­ple why we are so fanat­ic about mak­ing the Sun­day expe­ri­ence “irre­sistible” so we can let God do the work only he can do. 

QUESTION: Have you expe­ri­ence Resis­tance in your role as a leader? 

QUESTION: Are you pre­pared to greet Resis­tance this week and next? (And the week after that?) 

QUESTION: How do you deal with Resis­tance when it shows up?

(Inspired by Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art and Andy Stanley’s 7 Prac­tices)

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