Eliminating the Drama-nators
The drama-nators….you know the type. They enjoy stirring things up – spreading a few rumors – treating the job as a form of personal entertainment. The drama-nators are rarely the best at what they do on the job, but let someone else make a mistake and their face lights up in anticipation. Unfortunately, we all know the type and dealing with the negative behavior or sub-par work practices among team members is something we would all like to ignore and “hope” goes away. It rarely does, so over the years I have learned to work quickly to lay the groundwork for a positive environment.
First, I had to step up and define a culture, a workplace environment, in which the employees knew what to expect and could depend on one another and me to be friendly, fair, and firm.
Friendly: I began by co-creating a vision with my employees – a vision for them as well as the company. I wanted people growing, learning and fully engaged in what they do. I created a comfortable, friendly opportunity for us to sit down and discuss a place of work that we could all be proud of and willing to work for. All opinions were welcomed and talked through. The final product was “ours” – not “mine.”
Fair: Most things seem unfair to us because we don’t see it coming – the outcomes are unexpected. So, defining a process for keeping us to true to our vision was important. Together we decided what interpersonal/professional environment we would like to have. We set expectations for honesty, trust and work ethic. We collectively agreed, for instance, that not showing up for the job or telling tales out of school hurt “us” and set standards that allowed for mistakes, but discouraged bad habits.
Firm: Everyone is held accountable – especially me! Ownership/leadership does not mean we get a pass for failing to buy into the culture we create.
Over the years, I have discovered that the drama-nators rarely stay around once they realize they will be dealt with in a friendly, fair and firm manner. Where is the drama in that, right?
Jeff McManus is a blogger, author and trainer. His books are Prune Like a Pro and the soon-to-be-released leadership development book, Growing Weeders into Leaders. Jeff also works as the Director of Landscaping and Airport and Golf Services at the beautiful Ole Miss campus in Oxford, MS. Jeff’s work has been featured in USA Today, The New York Times, Princeton Review and Newsweek. Jeff is a proud Certified Grounds Manager with PGMS and an International Certified Arborist. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.