How to Become “The Ultimate Diffuser of Drama” in Your Organization

No one wants to deal with drama in the workplace! But whether the cause is a fed-up employee or a disagreement between two team members, drama is something leaders of all types will likely encounter in their organization. To help leaders master the skills they need to become “the ultimate diffuser of drama” in their organizations, I recently welcomed Cy Wakeman onto my Mindfulness Manufacturing podcast.

Cy is the president and founder of Reality-Based Leadership, and the author of bestsellers like No Ego: How Leaders Can Cut the Cost of Workplace Drama, End Entitlement, and Drive Big Results. On the podcast, she shared valuable insights—and some true mic-drop moments!—for how leaders can use skills like curiosity and self-refection to avoid and overcome drama in their organization.

Cy’s Drama Diffusing Tip #1: “What Do I Know For Sure?”

When drama occurs in the workplace, it is often because of misunderstandings. If you don’t fully understand where another person’s perspective, it can be easy to misread their intentions or even make unfair assumptions about their behavior. To avoid drama-causing assumptions, ask yourself one simple question: what do I know for sure? By asking yourself this question, you can figure out what fact is and what is your own belief about a person and their behavior. By focusing on what you know for sure, you can approach conversations with curiosity and an open mindset.

Cy’s Drama Diffusing Tip #2: “As the Leader Goes, So Does the Team”

As a leader, stopping drama starts with you! To do this, set a good example for your team. This might mean reflecting on your own behavior or making changes to your own mindset and behavior to set a more positive example for your team. For example, do you find yourself talking negatively about others in your organization or giving in to unproductive venting about issues? By looking inward and reflecting on your own behavior, you can improve yourself and step up to be a more inspiring, positive leader for your entire team.

Cy’s Drama Diffusing Tip #3: “If I See Behavior I Don’t Want, How Am I Enabling It?”

Similarly, think about how you react to negative behavior in the workplace. Do you take immediate steps to improve it? Or does your leadership enable it? In many cases, it might seem simpler to enable poor behavior, like by listening to a team member’s unproductive complaints or letting in someone who frequently forgets an access code. However, enabling bad behavior only leads to more drama! Instead, work with your team member to find creative and productive solutions. Be clear about your expectations and what you need, and you’ll encourage your team members to improve their own behavior.

Cy’s Drama Diffusing Tip #4: “Call People Up to Greatness”

To diffuse workplace drama in your organization, it all comes down to setting others up for greatness. Whether you do this by setting a positive example or setting better boundaries with your team, it’s important to try to always extend an invitation to greatness. It’s up to your team to decide what to do with that invitation, but by creating a positive environment and offering empowering leadership, you can help your team members take their own steps toward greatness.

Learn More on the Podcast

To hear more mic-drop moments from Cy Wakeman, give her Mindfulness Manufacturing episode a listen here.

At Manufacturing Greatness, Trevor Blondeel works with manufacturers to connect the top to the shop floor. If you’re ready to improve your own organization, contact Trevor to learn how Manufacturing Greatness can help you build stronger leaders and develop a dynamic, high-performing workplace.