The Costs of Drama
Do you experience drama in your work and life? Do turf wars or ineffective team dynamics exist in your organization? We all experience some level of drama. It is part of the human experience.
The costs of drama — both at work and personally — can be tremendous, as described in David’s new book, 3 Vital Questions: Transforming Workplace Drama.
When you have a minute, do an internet search on “the cost of workplace drama.” You will be amazed at some of the hard costs, in dollars-and-cents, associated with conflict and drama. They come as a result of lost productivity, turf battles, in-fighting, gossip, rumors, picking sides, blaming, fault finding, absenteeism, turnover, and engaging in what Peter Block calls the politics of manipulation.
Gallup research indicates that approximately $350 US BILLION in lost productivity occurs annually because of negative behavior in organizations. Other research has estimated that managers spend as much as 40% of their time dealing with conflict and drama and – as one colleague quipped – that is probably low in some organizations.
That says nothing about the cost of drama at home. We don’t know of a study that measures home-life drama. We do know, however, from personal experience that turf battles, gossip and emotional distress can be even more intense with those we love and who are closest to us.
At a minimum, workplace drama causes inefficiency, frustration and waste. The personal cost is immeasurable also. Here’s an example from my own (David’s) life:
“At one point in my career I got a new boss who happened to be the most drama-producing boss I ever worked for. I would go home tired and worrying about what the next day would bring. I tossed and turned at night. I wasn’t present to my family when I was at home because I was always thinking about work. I engaged in the ‘ain’t it awful’ stories of my work-life with anyone who would listen and collude with me.”
Such drama produces anxiety, and anxiety leads to all kinds of stress related illnesses. We know of one corporate executive whose workplace is so drama filled that they have been officially diagnosed with a sleep disorder and can’t sleep without medication.
Leaders are not immune. In fact, they may be right in the middle of it. Leaders can become referees acting as Rescuers between those employees who feel like Victims to the Persecutors around them.
It does not have to be that way, either at work or at home. We often say the formula out of drama is simple—just not always easy.
The transformation from drama to empowerment begins when you notice your reactive tendency arising in you. Learning to pause and take responsibility for your contribution to the drama situation is the first step. We all want other people to change first, and the hard truth is you can never change other people — only yourself.
When you stop, pause, and choose a more empowered response, you have the possibility to be a Creator in your own life—the central role in TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic)®. Feeling frustrated with working and living in a drama-filled environment can be the catalyst to help you evolve beyond simply blaming external circumstances.
We have been told countless times about how making the shift from the DDT to TED* at work helps people take it into other aspects of their lives. Focusing on what you can change, and your own contribution to the drama, puts you in charge of your attitude and choices.
Instead of costing time and money, you will make a down payment toward a life with a lot less drama!