March '20

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MARCH 2020 THE SHOP 15 Be as transparent as possible. Drama thrives in secretive environments. This is one of many reasons why it's a good idea for organizations to be open about everything, from financials to performance metrics to changes that might be coming in the future. The less people have to speculate about, the less likely they'll be to gossip and repeat hearsay. Leaders need to be transparent, too. The less you have to hide, the less you'll have to worry about who you told and whether they will repeat it. Ask for specificity. When people make blanket statements like "everybody says" and "everybody thinks," ask them for names and particulars. Who is everybody? I have found in my work with commu- nities that when people start using gen- eralities like this to build a case for their position (usually a negative one), they can typically name only one or two people. They are creating a lot of emotion without a lot of substance behind it. Forcing specificity helps us put issues in perspective and shuts down drama. Stop repeating the story. Encourage employees to keep the story in the group that needs to hear it. When something happens that gets people upset, they may feel the need to tell their story over and over. Usually this is because they want support or attention. As leaders, we need to be careful not to do this ourselves and we need to let employees know how destructive this can be. When we repeat stories over and over, they become larger than life and perpetuate negativity throughout the organization. Hold open conversations about real issues. When there is an issue, the goal is to get it fixed—not go behind people's backs and complain. It's far better to approach the person and have an open conversation. And back up your statement with data. For example: "In the past month, you have missed three deadlines. Can we talk about what the problem might be?" Often, addressing the issue openly will help you uncover a root cause. Once you zero-in on the factor keeping the employee from doing their job properly, you can work with them to find a solution. Encourage people to carry their own messages. If an employee comes to you complaining about a third party—whether it's a fellow employee or an immediate supervisor— ask, "Have you spoken to this person directly?" A big part of creating an owner- ship mindset is teaching employees to work out their own conflicts and advocate for themselves, rather than tattling on people. Remember, the goal is always to build adult relationships. Adults resolve their own issues rather than stir up drama. Those who create workplace drama aren't always doing it intentionally. It can be driven by insecurity, fear or other undealt-with emotional issues. PRO-LITE COLUMN 6 lbs Saves an average of 7-10 pounds Street-to-strip ready with modern safety features

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