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Team-Building: Dealing With Workplace Drama
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Team-Building: Dealing With Workplace Drama - Executive Leadership Articles

Team-Building: Dealing With Workplace Drama

Executive Leadership Articles

Team-Building: Dealing With Workplace Drama

If there is one universal team dysfunction, it must be drama: when people are working together, there is going to be some drama, and drama can be a team-killer. Yet there is a difference, explains Marlene Chism in Stop Workplace Drama (Wiley, 2011), between the drama and your drama. The drama is simply the situation you are in, the challenges facing any team, whether they are sales goals or new strategies. Your drama is the way you react to the situation, and the negative connotation that comes with the phrase hints at unhealthy approaches to the drama.

Chism explains that “you will always find at least one of three common elements if not all three: a lack of clarity, a relationship issue, and/or resistance.” The competent manager understands that any workplace drama is the responsibility of the leader, that part (if not all) of the drama can be addressed and handled with the right approach to problems in clarity, relationships, and resistance.

All drama involves some lack of clarity. Are team members confused about who’s in charge or what their boundaries are? Are they unclear because of recent instability or changes in direction? The effective team leader works toward communicating for the team anything that makes the team member best able to do his or her job.

A great amount of clarity for the leader, says Chism, is dependent on the leader’s having a firm understanding of his or her personal values, beliefs, and goals. The author spends quite a bit of time outlining the role self-identity plays in a manager’s ability to clearly explain expectations and desired outcomes, because not only does this lead to increased clarity, but also to a healthy understanding of relationships. In turn, a better understanding of relationships then gives the leader some tools for managing the multitude of problems that spring up between different people working together toward some common goal.

The problem is not really the drama, explains the writer, but “If you want to lead from your power, you must assume responsibility for the one thing you can truly be responsible for: the way you represent yourself, and who you are at your core.” Taking ownership of the workplace drama and then exploring the underlying issues in clarity, relationships, and resistance is one way to keep the team moving in sync toward its goal.

 

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Team-Building: Dealing With Workplace Drama - Executive Leadership Articles

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