We’ve all been there. Late-night calls from frantic colleagues, rumors flying like wildfire, disrespectful emails. and emotional outbursts in meetings. Drama at work is more than just annoying; it’s a productivity killer.
Humans are wired for drama. In prehistoric times, drama meant danger, and recognizing danger was crucial for survival. But in today’s world, this trait does more harm than good, especially in the workplace.
Stephen Karpman’s Drama Triangle explains this perfectly. It outlines three roles people play in conflicts: the Victim, the Persecutor, and the Rescuer. Victims feel powerless and blame others. Persecutors criticize and control. Rescuers try to help but often make things worse. The roles can switch, but the drama remains.
The way out? Extreme Ownership, a concept by former Navy SEALs Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. It’s about taking full responsibility for everything that happens in your scope of work. No blaming, no excuses. Leaders at all levels should practice this, creating a culture where everyone owns their tasks and responsibilities.
Here are the key principles:
- Taking Ownership: Leaders should take responsibility for both the successes and failures of their team. This means not blaming others or external factors for problems but instead looking inward and asking, “What could I have done differently?”
- No Excuses: Avoid making excuses or shifting blame. Even if external factors contribute to a problem, an effective leader finds a way to overcome those challenges.
- Leading Up and Down the Chain of Command: Extreme Ownership applies at all levels of an organization. Leaders should take charge and lead their superiors when necessary, offering solutions and taking responsibility. Similarly, they must empower their subordinates to take ownership of their tasks.
- Decentralized Command: While the leader is responsible for everything, they should also empower their team members to take ownership of their specific roles. This fosters a culture of decentralized command where everyone understands their responsibilities and takes initiative.
- Prioritizing and Executing: Leaders must prioritize tasks and execute them effectively. This involves making tough decisions and sometimes sacrificing less critical objectives for the success of the overall mission.
When Extreme Ownership is in play, drama dissipates. Productivity soars. In my experience, organizations that adopt a “No Drama Culture” are far more productive than those stuck in the Drama Triangle.
A “No Drama Culture” is the competitive edge that sets organizations apart in the 21st century.
So, the next time you find yourself in a whirlpool of workplace drama, remember: the cost is too high. Opt for Extreme Ownership and cultivate a “No Drama Culture.” Your organization’s success depends on it.
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