16 Expressions of Underhanded Resistance Pt. 1

Underhanded resistance happens when people say yes, but really mean no.

Resistance is expected, normal, even healthy.

Underhanded resistance distracts and destroys.

Leaders chase ghosts, when they don’t see underhanded resistance.

it takes humility courage and optimism to say this isn't working and I'm part of it.

People say they want change. In truth, most want others to change. 

Underhanded resistance feels safer than:

  1. Expressing disagreement with the boss.
  2. Acknowledging ineffectiveness.
  3. Stepping into the unknown*. 
  4. Taking on new challenges.
  5. Appearing inadequate.
  6. Losing control.
  7. Changing.

*All change has an element of uncertainty.

The secretary:

A secretary told me that when she doesn’t want to do what her boss wants, she plays dumb.  She asks lots of questions – comes back later with more questions. Eventually, he finds someone else to do it or does it himself. 

Underhanded resistance is nodding agreement while standing opposed.

16 expressions of underhanded resistance:

  1. Quick passionless agreement. Lack of objection.
  2. Acting concerned. “I just want us to succeed.”
  3. Drive for definitions. “I’m not sure what you mean by….”
  4. Recurring confusion. A little confusion is normal. Constant confusion is resistance.
  5. Expanding scope. Turning small projects into global efforts keeps everyone’s wheels spinning.
  6. Theories that explain what others should do.
  7. Detail, detail, detail. Bury everyone in detail. Ask for more detail.
  8. Blame. “Those people.”
  9. Others don’t get it. “I’m not responsible. It’s those ignorant others.”
  10. “Just tell me what to do.”
  11. Rush to solutions. We don’t need to discuss this uncomfortable topic.
  12. You’re always right.
  13. Minimizing problems. The problem isn’t that bad.
  14. Declaring early victory. Things are so much better. We don’t need to keep going.
  15. Recurring need for clarification.
  16. Foot dragging.

It takes humility, courage, and optimism to say, this isn’t working and I’m part of it.

Read part 2 here.

What types of underhanded resistance show up most in your organization?

How do you deal with underhanded resistance?

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