How to Work with Resistance


Change, conflict, stress and overwhelm can all lead to resistance…

… and resistance is one of the most challenging leadership issues you will experience. It clouds over the actual goals, intentions and priorities, making it challenging for your team members, clients and colleagues to progress.

But have you noticed that when you try to push back against someone’s resistance, you often make it stronger? And this creates a cycle of fear and reluctance that hinders your ability to help team members perform well.

That’s why as conscious leaders, mastering how to work with resistance is important – to remove conversations or actions that imply shame, blame or guilt when people struggle to embrace change.

When working with resistance…

…here are 4 things you need to know:

  1. While the brain can change, it usually won’t do so without putting up a bit of a fight. 🙂
  2. People aren’t resisting you, it’s their brain “fighting” for homeostasis and any threats to homeostasis will be resisted.
  3. The same neural responses that drive us toward food or away from predators are triggered by our perceptions of the way we are treated by other people.
  4. When someone senses a threat to their human needs/values – because of how they perceive your language and actions toward them –  they can:
  • shut down
  • close off
  • disengage
  • defend (whatever that might look like)



So how do you work effectively with resistance?

  1. Choose to master the skill of understanding which human needs are underneath people’s reactions.
  2. Recognize that you’re likely reacting to their reaction, and must take care of your own needs first.
  3. Learn to respond to people’s needs, and not their reactions.



To help you with this, we created the PRISE Model because change, conflict, stress and overwhelm are inevitable. It will guide you to understand and respond to your and your team members’ real needs.

When we interact in a way that attempts to have all of our needs met at less emotional, physiological and psychological cost, we can work through resistance with more ease.


How’s that for a “PRISE”?! 🙂


Here is the PRISE Model PDF for you to Print, Apply and Share.


Infographic PRISE Model.png
For a more detailed look at the neuroscience behind the PRISE Model, enjoy reading  SCARF: A brain based model for collaborating with and influencing others, by David Rock. It will rock your world!


Please note: When you make copies or share, please maintain copyright information. We put a lot of loving work into creating these resources for you and are proud of them. Thanks!


For deeper learning on how to overcome resistance to change, minimize threats in your interactions, and enhance creativity and innovation, join other leaders in The Conscious Leadership Experience: a conscious leadership skills course, that will positively change how you overcome resistance and achieve results.


We guarantee it!



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