People & Human Resources

It’s time to ditch the drama at work

Sue-Ellen Watts /

According to drama researcher and international keynote speaker Cy Wakeman, we spend on average of 2.5 hours per day complaining, creating stories and arguing with reality!

Now I am sure your immediate response to this statistic is, “not me!” That was certainly the response when I recently shared this with a group of future and senior leaders in a workshop I conducted. However when I went on to share some examples of complaining that we often hear in an office, the response changed to, ‘Maybe I do!”

Complaints like:

“I don’t have time for this training, I have too much work on.”

“The cleaner didn’t empty my bin last night.”

“I’m too tired to go to the work function tonight.”

“My colleague is slacking off and I am doing all of the work.”

“Nobody tells me anything.”

You get the drift — the list could go on and on!

So much leadership time is wasted dealing with complaining and drama that could easily be avoided by individuals taking personal responsibility for their own circumstances.

I was very happy to hear this as a common theme coming from the largest global HR Conference SHRM, which I attended in New Orleans recently. The leadership stream focused on the role of a leader changing to a reality based leadership model. The leader’s new role is to help employees eliminate emotional waste by facilitating good mental processes, such as helping people to ask the right questions that are not based on blaming others but rather centre around personal responsibility. Guiding people to self-reflect rather than vent and to focus on the facts rather than the story.

Imagine if we could gain an extra 2.5 hours per day per employee in positive and engaged activity rather than drama? That could change a business or department entirely.  

While this is not something that can happen overnight I want to get the message out to leaders, managers and individuals in general that it is time for each person in the workplace to understand that their results are because of their own actions. Our level of accountability determines our happiness, not the circumstances around us.  

So let’s ditch the drama and be more productive and happier at work and home!

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Sue-Ellen Watts

Sue-Ellen Watts is the founder of wattsnext, specialists delivering relevant HR for the modern world to SMEs across the globe.

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