There have been a number of situations over the years where I have been surprised by the way people have reacted to proposed changes. To be clear, I am not surprised when people push back on changes with a clear opposing point of view (i.e. homework, later school start for teens, master schedule, 1:1 devices, etc.). When we have done things a certain way for a long time in education and most students have been successful, I can understand stakeholders questioning the need for change.
However, the one thing that still surprises me is when people lash out and make personal attacks and bring up issues that have nothing to do with the actual change itself. I know this is the result of fear and what it does to people that are fearful of change. I would also like to say that I always handle these situations deftly, but that would be inaccurate.
So, I am writing this a reminder to myself and hoping it might help others avoid getting caught up in the negative undercurrents that are always part of the change process. One way that I have found defuses some situations is to allow for a time where people can list all of their fears/concerns about a particular change. Once the list of fear and concerns is finalized, ask people to go through and cross off all of the things that we do not have control over. My experience is that many of the things on the list get wiped off and you end up left with a list of manageable items that you can work on to help facilitate the change you seek.