Some years ago I was member of an association, believed with passion in the goals, and thought the whole time that I had to fight against the board to protect the goals. From one of my coaching clients I heard a similar story. He told me that they all agreed on doing a certain show for a low fee, and suddenly the drummer refused to play. And how harder they tried to convince him, how more stubborn he got.
In both situations we have resistance. I resisted the ‘soft’ approach of the board and the drummer didn’t agree with the policy of the band regarding that show. The most common solution to get the group together again is, to try to break the resistance by putting pressure on it. But how more pressure, how more resistance. A radical break than seems inevitable. The board wanted me to leave the association. The band was already thinking about looking for another drummer. It’s not what you want, but it seems inevitable.
Until you start to listen. We all want to be heard, to be taken serious, to be respected as who we are. Often we get resistant when we think that others don’t listen, that they don’t take us seriously. Instead of raising the pressure, you can also remove the pressure. You can start to talk about what it’s really about, about the goals of the association and about the policy of the band. Please start with listening to the resistant people, they are passionate and have something to say. Otherwise they wouldn’t be resistant. You might be surprised, it might be a totally new view on what’s going on, a constructive addition to the whole group. It also might be nonsense.
It doesn’t matter much how useful it is what the other has to say, it’s important to listen, as a sign of respect. A resistant person in a group is like a stalemate. This is the only constructive way out of it that I know. It’s not about breaking the resistance, it’s about abolishing resistance by showing respect.