Every week I hear about poor workplace relationships, disagreement of business decisions, ineffective leadership, absenteeism and lateness, rude and abusive behaviours etc. All frustrating and often upsetting situations. I know they cause a great deal of stress and anxiety. Thinking, dealing and especially avoiding them can be really hard work for all of us. But here’s the thing… they are also a significant cost to the business.
If you lead people, projects or processes or deal with customers and/or suppliers you’ll find this mind blowing. Cy Wakeman in his book ‘No Ego’ has quantified the cost of drama being ‘mentally wasteful thought processes or unproductive behaviours’ that cost us an average of 2.5 hours PER DAY! Yep, that much.
Let’s just do the maths now. The average rate of pay per hour in Australia is $39, multiply that by 12.5 hours per week in ‘drama’ and then times it by the number of FTE (full time equivalent) employees you have and you’ve got a pretty high cost! Let’s assume your team or company has 100 FTE employees. If you don’t teach people how to deal with their drama it is costing your business $2,535,000 per annum. (Insert swear word here)
If you personally fall trap to talking about people and not to them, in a healthy and respectful way, then you could be costing the business $25,350 per annum (on an average salary). Whoa!
I love Wakeman’s perspective on unproductive thinking and discussions. He says that ‘venting is the ego’s way of avoiding self-reflection’. That’s so good. It makes sense. We think we are being sympathetic to people by listening to others vent or even doing it ourselves, but in fact it heightens the drama and keeps it alive. Venting is like blowing air in to a fire. It fuels it.
Shifting to empathy, where you seek to understand and become bigger than the situation, that’s where you move to resolution. It’s where you chose to reflect on your role and change that you can make in a situation.
So ask yourself; How much of your day contributes to drama but you justify it as venting or processing?
Read more about the Drama Triangle and how to ‘Own your stuff’ in Chapter 7 of Fixing Feedback.