Change agents seem to have an unstated goal to minimize complaining. We want people to not only do the new activity or perform the different behavior, but also to have a good attitude about it. But, given the option to have people complain and do it anyway, or silently abstain, wouldn’t you rather have the begrudging participant?
It might be helpful to think of it this way: Complaining is not resistance. Not changing is resistance. Complaining is communication.
In fact, the begrudging participant might be in the best position to sway others to participate! One of my clients recently shared an example of a department manager in her organization who told her that he thought a new activity was a pain to do, but that he did it anyway because it was the right thing to do. What better ambassador to those who are still waiting on the sidelines!
Identify your begrudging participants. Listen to their complaints, but also find out why they are participating in the change despite those negative feelings. Share their story as much as possible with skeptics and people who have similar complaints.
Who are your begrudging participants?