Given the personal and professional stakes for leaders in the midst of a significant change, it is no wonder our initial reactions may be swift and discounting when faced with negative reactions. "What do these people know?' "Why don't they get it?" If I can label you as resisting change then blame shifts to you, and I don't have to change anything about the way I'm operating. Needless to say these mindsets do not provide insights into the challenges of changing people's thinking.
Popular leadership and management notions about resistance to change tend to disregard the issues and concerns of the affected people. By labeling objection or hesitancy as "resistance" executives and managers executing change initiatives can set up a false separation between themselves and the very people who need to embrace change and ultimately, are needed to help make it happen.
People may have negative reactions to change not because they are unaware or lazy, but because they are smart, and paying attention, and they care. People are often right in their judgments that change will be disruptive, may not have been thought through to their level, and ultimately may not work as planned.
Tossing out the label of "resistance to change" honors the people who will be carrying out the change effort, and acknowledges that their concerns may be real enough to derail the change unless they are faced and effectively handled.
Substitute other words to reframe your thinking: "People have concerns." "They're not convinced." They're unclear about what to do, or what the change means for them." "They're fatigued, frustrated, and angry." Try it. It's hard, but it will guide the change.