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Chapter 5. Making Humor Work During Chan... > The Role of Humor in Defusing Resist...

The Role of Humor in Defusing Resistance to Change [*]

[*] “For an excellent book read Managing Personal Change by Scott & Jaffe.

There will always be somebody who sees the negative side of change, such as the old farmer getting a look at his first car. He watched as the proud new owner cranked and toiled to no avail. The old farmer kept repeating to all that would listen, “It ain’t gonna start.” Once it started and the driver jumped behind the wheel, his message changed—“You ain’t gonna be able to stop that thing!”

Resistance goes with the territory whenever change occurs. Not all resistance is bad: Some changes may be wrong. Resistance needs to be honored, listened to, and dealt with when this is the case. Effective leadership will admit when mistakes have been made and often poor changes can be reversed. But the normal early discomfort that accompanies change can often be handled by interjecting humor. This will keep people laughing at their new feelings of being uncomfortable. Instead of creating a defensive environment humor defuses the situation. It allows the acknowledgement that, “We’re all in this together, and we’re all uncomfortable.”


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