Monday, June 25, 2012

You Have Drama in Your Workplace??

“Nature abhors a vacuum.” - Aristotle.

“Nature abhors a vacuum.” - Aristotle. This idiom is used to express the idea that empty or unfilled spaces are unnatural as they go against the laws of nature and physics.

We have all had to endure at times (or possibly every day) in our workplace or social life, drama. Drama in our workplace has many faces, from general gossip, to personality conflicts – all of the way to near mutinies directed at management or owners. We have grown accustomed with playing a role in this drama or being a spectator. Of all issues within an organization, this can sap productivity more significantly and drastically that if the office was on fire. Bitterness towards co-workers, entire workforces being polarized into two opposing groups, Emails secretly forwarded and instant messaging buzzing with innuendo, accusations and insults.

It is a morale draining every day occurrence. But have you ever paused to step back and observe what is happening... Distancing the fact that Charlie down in shipping is an incompetent, or all of the girls in accounting are snobby bitches. Create arms length from the discussions that the owner has no idea what he/she is doing. Step back and see the amount of time, energy and ultimately profit (keeping in mind profit is what keeps you employed with your company).

Maybe, you will also notice, that drama, is most present when business slows down a little, or has become stagnate and routine.

Several years ago I attended a seminar for CEO’s. The presenter was a very insightful speaker discussing increasing productivity within your organization. One of the topics he discussed was drama in the workplace. To give him appropriate credit for these thoughts that I am sharing in this article. I of course Googled this topic to identify his name and books. Unfortunately I was unable to locate his name, and credentials – however, I discovered thousands of article that are counter to his business solution, and I firmly believe, counter to increasing productivity. All of these Google hits were fundamentally “How to eliminate drama in the workplace”.

This speaker (damn I wish I can give him credit, and the moment I find it I will edit and include him in this article), was extremely insightful in encouraging the opposite of eliminating drama.. his (and my) firm beliefs is a manager, owner or even employees should encourage drama in the workplace.

“Nature abhors a vacuum.” - Aristotle surmised.. and I will extend on that and insist that “human nature abhors a vacuum of drama.” We need it, it is hard wired into our being. The moment that more than two people occupy any space, drama becomes a part of life. It is impossible to exist without our mind being exercised beyond our work tasks. We are social creatures, and with being social, we will create drama.

So I point out above that drama can destroy productivity, and morale. So why create it, why encourage it. The key is WHAT TYPE of drama. The secret is to create, foster, seed drama that will pull employees together. Find common issue that all employees can focus on. One can be creative to determine what this topic may be.. but it can be announcement of a large contract that your organization is bidding on, or has won, announcements of a competitor financial distress, a social event planning, a contest. Anything that is suitable within your organization that involves every staff member that has them discussing amongst themselves. This creating of drama, can be sourced from any level of employee in an organization. Of course, must be driven from the top down, so needs the nod from management. It is the managements role to “keep the fire burning” on this productive drama.

Again, to steal a theory from physics: "No two objects can occupy the same place at one time"

This seeded, productive drama, will replace the destructive, rift building drama, which will exist if your organization is left unattended.

Give it a try.