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Deconstructing a Problematic Workplace

42956656Manage Resistance and Drama

You may think the real drama at home is about the fight you had with your spouse, but it’s really about all the times you avoided having the difficult conversation, failing to listen or speak your truth to others or even yourself, Marlene Chism points out in Stop Workplace Drama.

Drama impacts all of us –– both at home and at work. It hampers productivity and inhibits personal effectiveness. And the worst part, of course, is that if you can’t spot the drama, you can’t stop the drama. Nonetheless, most of us try to fix the symptoms instead of identifying the core issues. The drama is the situation. Your drama is how you react to it. Therefore, while you may not be able to stop the drama, you certainly can stop your drama. In other words, you may or may not be able to control or change the circumstance, but with some training, you can learn to manage –– and alter –– your response.

When trying to identify the common elements in drama, you will always find at least one, if not all three, of these core components:
1. A lack of clarity.
2. A relationship issue.
3. Resistance. Leaders face resistance on a daily basis.

Teams resist working together. Individuals resist change. Perhaps you even resist the most difficult parts of your job. The core of resistance is you avoid because you don’t want to face whatever it is that you don’t want to face. You complain because you can’t deal with a certain situation, or you justify an angry outburst because you cannot accept the hand that has been dealt to you. Complaining denotes an unwillingness or inability to let go of what can’t be controlled, or to face and act on what can be changed.

The premise of releasing resistance is this: You cannot solve a problem until you accept the situation. When you jump into a solution before releasing resistance, you will just experience more drama. The solution only comes after you let go of your resistance. The four main energy patterns of resistance are blame, resentment, justification and judgment. Resistance is always a state of nonacceptance and an avoidance of responsibility. Non-acceptance starts as a thought impulse such as, “I don’t want to go through this (fill in the blank).” That thought triggers an emotional response such as frustration, dread, irritation or guilt, then quickly materializes into more observable behaviors such as angry outbursts, finger-pointing, blaming as well as subtle behaviors such as avoidance and procrastination.

In the end, resistance boils down to an unconscious avoidance of responsibility, which spirals into negativity, then finally into full-blown drama. Managers or business owners frequently know and even admit that drama is present in their workplaces. Denial is the drug of choice for many of us when we face difficult choices.

Awakening from the drug of denial can be painful. When you shed light on another person’s incompetence, rude behavior or pattern of which the person was unaware, the person will become defensive. Your staff member may feel attacked or belittled, so make sure you approach these issues with kid gloves.

Observe these two rules:
• Never catch anyone off guard.
• Always correct in private, and do it within a positive, team-oriented approach, with the intention of bringing out the employee’s best.

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