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Leadership Strategies and Drama

One of the most intriguing leadership challenges concerns office drama. The TV series “30 Rock” and “The Office” are great examples of how drama kings and queens take up so much air time at work. What makes drama so pervasive and so time consuming? Easy, it is a fun distraction. If we are prone to hold our emotions to ourselves, we all love to get a vicarious hit of emotional juice from another colleague. We can sit back and watch and still get the residuals from the floods of emotions in the room. By the way, this works in marriage too. Those of us who don’t like to express emotions often choose a partner who could get an Oscar for sighing, crying, and yelling. Here is what you need to know if you are, work with, or live with a drama king or queen. These folks are often highly intelligent and possess extraordinary vocabularies. They love to stir things up and love gossip, rumors, personal traumas, and creating emotional breakdowns. While this may seem an incredible waste of time it has a deep purpose. It is much more than a craving for personal attention. It is a deflection technique. No, the drama hero does not consciously think “I’ll have a hissy fit to divert attention”, rather, it is an unconscious mechanism that kicks in to maintain the status quo. As kids, the drama king or queen would often jump in to “save” the family from brutal honesty. When tensions would erupt at home and especially when parents were upset with each other or another of the siblings would be...

Putting Salve On A Pain in the —- Boss

There are lots of blogs and articles about bully bosses and how to handle them. Most end by saying either “leave” or “suck it up and stay”. Are there any other options that might work better? First, it is important to understand what is underneath the nasty bad boss syndrome. Persecutors NEED TO FEEL IMPORTANT. They tend to dominate conversations and want to be the center of attention. They expect those who work with and for them to help maintain their “most important status”. They love to find fault with other people’s work and will make snide comments in front of others. The difference between persecutors and tough bosses is significant. Tough bosses will set a high bar and offer challenges. Bully/persecuting bosses give and withhold information as a means of exercising power.  You know the differences between tough and persecutor bosses by the tightness in your gut when you have to deal with them. While you may feel tense with a tough boss, you feel incapacitated and often physically ill with a bully boss. Unwillingness to speak out against a persecutor personality is a silent epidemic at work. According to the Gallop Organization, bullying by immediate bosses is the single most important reason people quit their jobs, even in a down economy. Having a brutal boss or peer can cause depression, sleep disorders, ulcers, high blood pressure, lowered self-confidence, and a sense of isolation. The good news is that persecutors can turn into marvelous visionaries when they learn the OUT Technique (Observe, understand and transform). The energy to be awful turns into energy to be...

Leadership Strategies for the “Gotta Go” Crowd

The avoider pattern is a BIG one. It is super prevalent in today’s culture as a way of handling conflict and stress. Avoiders are aware of problems, yet won’t talk about them. When listening to an avoider you will here “I’ll get back to you, I have to think about it, don’t call me I’ll call you, and the famous gotta go”. Avoiders hate to be blamed for anything, and they are prone to walk away rather than admit responsibility for a problem. You can know an avoider by the willingness to take charge that is until there is a big wind, and then they hand over the helm, relinquish control, and fade as far into the background as possible. Leadership coaching almost requires the leader to stand in front of the door to keep the avoider from running. Please remember, that if avoiders are not held accountable, they can hurt the bottom line by pushing conflict underground. Colleagues become paralyzed with worry that whatever is said will touch off a “gotta go” response and then work will come to a dead stop. Avoiders most often come from families where there was a great deal of blaming and shaming. Thus, when a leader has a discussion with an avoider, make sure they know this is not a judging session. If you start with honest acknowledgment and invite the avoider to participate in solving the puzzle of what is not working without pointing fingers the results tend to be favorable. Avoiders often look big, strong, and unflappable. Underneath is a frightened child waiting to be either sent to a corner...

Leadership Strategies and “Nay-Sayers”

The natural tendency to be a “devil’s advocate” is seductive. It is learned at a young age and is so deeply ingrained into one’s behavior it becomes almost disloyal to say “Yes, that’s great, excellent idea, I’ll support that, count me in, how can I help”. Creating leadership tactics to deal with Nay-Sayers can be super time consuming not to mention, exhausting. The most important leadership coaching you can do to help a Nay-Sayer, the rebel, is to question the underlying purpose of the knee-jerk tendency to take the opposite position, to….anything. Rebels are the ones at work who spend lots of time hoping to make HR an accomplice. They love calling the company hot line (usually anonymously), getting others riled up to complain about a ‘bully boss’, stating that the work setting constitutes a hostile environment. So, how do leaders handle this difficult negative employee? First thought, just get rid of them. If it were only that easy! The rebel loves a fight. Trouble is, smart rebels get the more naïve to do the dirty work. The healthy opposite to rebel behavior is becoming a community builder. How can you help this to happen? First, understand that rebels want to make up for some injustice in the family history. Relatives were often seen a ‘second class citizens’ and thus, there is a need to speak up and turn the tide, to right the wrongs. Another tendency of rebels is to make up for an ‘inadequate’ parent or sibling by making everyone else wrong and inadequate. No, you don’t tell this directly to a rebel. I promise that would...

Leadership Strategies and “Yeh-Sayers”

  There are lots of articles talking about what it takes to keep your job in a down economy. One way, many suggest, is to “do more and don’t complain”. Good if you are a robot, bad if you are a living, breathing person with a stress point that boils over when it gets past 100% efficiency. Those of us programmed to be “Yeh-Sayers” grew up to be pleasers and martyrs. There is a natural tendency to accommodate, take on more than is possible, and always look for a pat on the head, a reward or recognition, an “attaboy” slap on the back. So, is the advice to “do more” helpful or hurtful? Is the advice to suck it up and not complain really worthy? It depends if you want to keep your job at all costs, even if it costs you your heath, and maybe even personal relationships. Then keep saying “yes, sure, why not, okay, fine, let me do it, no problem, I can handle it, not to worry”. Maybe this economy is here to force us to look at every aspect of work differently. Maybe, just maybe, it is time to reassess what we do to get things done and how each of us can play a part so that we come out of this curious time smarter and stronger. In my book “Don’t Bring It to Work” I talk about the 13 most common patterns of behavior found in the workplace, any workplace. I then show through the OUT Technique (Observe, Understand, Transform) how to change outdated ways of responding to their healthy opposite. The...