Can Managers actually Manage?



“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new” – Socrates

We all know that change is something that we have to deal with on an everyday basis, be it a bad breakup or a hurdle in our daily routines. We usually have a habit of resisting anything that is different from what we are used to and in today’s fast changing technological world it may be one of the very difficult tasks for managers to create acceptance among their workforce to adapt to changes in internal processes of organisations.

Resistance to Change

The first thing managers need to acknowledge is the fact that not everybody has the same perceptions and frequency in reacting to changes. Differences in perception among individuals and personality can be caused due to their cultural background, family upbringing, income class, and their own intelligence and abilities (of course this is not the end of the list). According to Lisa Quast, a contributor to Forbes, people may resist to change because of the following reasons:

  1. The need for employees to accept too much change in a short period of time may make them resistant to change especially if there is a large element of surprise
  2. New management may not be fully trusted and respected by employees as compared to a management that has been able to earn respect over the years
  3. The sense of job insecurity may also cause resistance
  4. Some people just simply enjoy learning new things so that they can grow personally and professionally but others just prefer to follow a certain routine that they have created for themselves

(Quast, 2012)

Dr. John Kotter’s ideas about people resisting to change

Acknowledging change

There are managers who can adopt the “idiographic approach” if they want to focus on understanding motivation, career development and team relationships (Mullins, 2013). This approach regards individuals as responding to the people and their environments as they change. The following video shows different personalities that managers have to deal with on a day to day basis:

(Melkonian, 2011)

Open-minded and extroverted people are usually which are more open to change in organisations (Mullins, 2013) and it does not take much effort for managers to convince and motivate them to keep working. These people can even deal with neurotic bosses!

How Managers can overcome resistance to change (with example)

Telecommunications industry and their dependent companies (where I also intend on working in) is one that requires constant updating to technology due to its fast-changing demands and can be a perfect example to explore companies that have to deal with constant change. Newer and better technology persistently puts pressure to make employees think that they maybe soon replaced. Cisco showed effective results when introducing new operational frameworks into the companies within a span of 2 years (Cisco, 2008). This makes it apparent that Cisco realised that individuals in their organisation are different and therefore they created a complete step by step, vivid and clear cut transition into their new system. This is what is called effective leadership.

A Pakistani company, PTCL had to go through a major change when Etisalat took over majority of the shares in 2005 (Etisalat, 2007). There was a change in management and operational processes and due to this there was a significant improvement in employees’ satisfaction in the workplace and revenue boost because of effective communication and implementation (Etisalat, 2007).

Effective Leadership

Lewin’s Change Management Model of unfreeze, transition and refreeze and Kotter’s 8 Step Change Model are some models that organisations can develop for transitioning an organisation. Overcoming resistance to change can be a difficult task but applying the right method of communicating change to the parties involved with this transformation in an organisation. This fun video illustrates how change can be implemented in an effective way.

Coming to a conclusion, the reason why people resist to change is because they see that the risk is too high, requires too much effort and because they cannot see the fruits of the end result like the upper management can. In order to overcome this scenario, managers and leaders need to show the benefit to their subordinates as to how they will benefit from this change and not how the organisation will benefit from it. This is the point where miscommunication arises and the subordinates cannot see what the advantages will be. Therefore, managers need to be able to show that the gains from change is much larger than staying stationary in that position.


Cisco, (2008). How Cisco IT Implemented Organizational Change and Advanced Services for Operational Success

Etisalat, (2007). Annual Report 2007

Melkonian, E., (2011). 5-factor Model for Personality OCEAN.

Mullins, L. J., (2013). Management and Organisational Behavious. 10th ed. :Pearson.

Quast, L., (2012). Overcome The 5 Main Reasons People Resist Change