workplace drama

Why Drama Is Your Greatest Threat During Crisis And How To Respond With Compassion

With the Coronavirus outbreak, the world is on high alert. People are anxious and afraid. It’s difficult to separate fact from fear and plain talk from politics. Drama is at an all-time high.

The real impact of this crisis on you your business depends on many factors that we can’t control. But the big question is whether our response will make us part of the problem or part of the solution.

Your response to crisis either makes you part of the problem, or part of the solution.

Here are three drama-based responses to uncertainty and crisis that only make things worse, and compassionate alternatives that help you be part of the solution.

Giving In

Do you shut down, believing you are helpless and avoid reality because you don’t want to face your feelings of anxiety or fear? This type of drama only magnifies irrational paranoia.

Compassionate Alternative

  • Get vulnerable with your own feelings. Let others know you are human too.
  • Empathize with others. People want to know they aren’t alone.
  • Validate other people’s feelings. People want to know it’s safe to talk about it.

Giving Unsolicited Advice

Do you swoop in trying to help everyone and masquerade as the expert? Do you feel more in control when you have advice and answers? This type of drama only creates resentment because it invites others to feel even less in control of their own destiny.

Compassionate Alternative

  • Get curious and ask permission before you offer help or information. People want to be included.
  • Ask people for ideas on creative solutions. People want to feel involved.
  • Leverage current opportunities and assets to adapt with purpose. People want to feel empowered.

Giving Ultimatums

Do broad generalizations, threats, and black or white statements help you feel powerful? When you blame and attack everyone else, do you feel more confident? Sadly, this type of drama only pushes people away, the very people whom you need most to find a way through the crisis.

Compassionate Alternative

  • Clarity the most important priorities, such as relationships, commitments, and safety. People want to know what to expect.
  • Focus on what you can control, especially your integrity and trustworthiness. People want to know they can count on you.
  • Apologize and make it right when you make a mistake or realize you need to adjust course. People want to know you will take responsibility.

By using compassion, humanity can overcome the negative pull of drama and rise to our best selves, especially in times of uncertainty and crisis.

Want help applying our compassion template to your crisis communication strategy? Call us for a free 30 minute consultation. +1 316 283 4200, email info@next-element.com 


Next Element offers Virtual Training for Leading Out of Drama and implementing The Compassion Mindset. In just a couple of hours and without leaving their offices, your leaders can get training on new communication, compassion and constructive conflict tools.

Copyright Next Element Consulting, LLC 2020
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Drained or Tired?

Would you rather be drained or tired?

I’ve worked with hundreds of leaders who are heading towards burnout because they are drained so much of the time. Unlike being tired, being drained doesn’t go away with rest and refueling.

Being drained is perpetuated by three myths.

Be Nice

The Myth: Don’t make waves, don’t speak up, and avoid conflict because silence is a small price to pay to keep people happy.

The Drain: Energy wasted on things you can’t control while neglecting your own boundaries and needs.

The Compassionate Solution: Be Open. Share your real feelings without blaming anyone. It’s OK to own your stuff because you are worth it. You will be tired, but you will have self-respect.

Be Smart

The Myth: Give advice, fix problems, and show your expertise because we need to save people from their struggles.

The Drain: Energy is wasted on non-consensual helping which invites dependence and resentment, so you end up doing other people’s work for them. It’s a vicious cycle.

The Compassionate Solution: Be Resourceful. Get curious and meet people there they are at. Ask permission to help and treat people like they are capable. You will be tired from resisting your urge to help, and your people will begin solving their own problems.

Be Tough

The Myth: It’s okay to be the bad guy. Strength equals respect. Strong arm people if necessary because it’s your duty to get things done no matter what.

The Drain: Everything becomes a battle and collateral damage is the norm.

The Compassionate Solution: Be Persistent. Communicate what’s important. Be a role-model and ask people to step up. Follow through on commitments and consequences with dignity and respect. You will be tired and you will experience more ownership and loyalty.

Drained leaders spin their wheels and never recover. Tired leaders get results and sleep great. When you replace the drain of myths with compassion, it hurts so good.

Copyright Next Element Consulting, LLC 2020
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Compassion Re-Imagined for 2020

2020 will be a year of great challenge and great opportunity. Division and drama are at an all time high. Globally 85% of workers are not engaged or actively disengaged at work. Yet everywhere we travel around the world, leaders tell us they are craving positive connections and authentic relationships. They are tired of the drain and want their energy back! They are looking for a better way. (more…)

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Top 10 Blog Posts From 2019

Happy New Year! I want to send out a heartfelt thank you to all of my subscribers. I appreciate your support, your comments, and this remarkable community of people who care about better communication and more compassion at work. In keeping with tradition, here are the most read posts from my blog in 2019. (more…)

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It’s Not About The Billing Error

I recently accompanied my mother to a doctor’s appointment. We spent an hour in the waiting room and witnessed something that is all too common in patient care and impacts everything from satisfaction to the reputation of the practice itself.

I desperately wanted to rescue the billing representative during her interaction with a patient. If I could have slipped her a script using the ORPO template we teach in our Compassion Mindset course, it would have said,

(more…)

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Mis-Communicable Diseases

Mis-communicable diseases are illnesses passed from person to person through miscommunication. That’s because miscommunication infects people with negativity; inferiority, guilt, shame, and fear. Forget the basic cases of not understanding each other. I’m talking about getting hooked, and the next thing you know, you’re under the weather. (more…)

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What Are You Talking About At Work?

There are three kinds of work conversations; task conversations, relationship-building conversations, and gossip. 

Task conversations are the ones focused on aspects of your work; exchanging information about what’s happening, who’s doing what, when it’s due, and what’s next. These are most common between co-workers, at meetings, and between bosses and their employees. These conversations are necessary and should be done within a spirit of mutual benefit and respect. (more…)

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How To Correct Three Leadership Habits That Destroy Culture

These three leadership habits destroy culture because they support drama-based responses to conflict.

Hiding behind policies

How many policies do you have that were created in response to the behavior of a few people? Rather than confront the behavior with healthy conflict, some leaders hide behind the policy. This sends the the message that we don’t trust most people and we won’t deal directly with problem behavior.

Correction: (more…)

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What Kind of FOMO Are You?

This article was originally published in SmartBrief on September 6, 2018. Republished here with permission.

People are more involved and connected than ever before. There’s always something going on, and somebody’s posting about it. Are you in, or are you out?

With all this awareness, fear of missing out (FOMO) is rampant. It’s easy to get seduced into thinking that just because we can be involved or included, we should be. Or, that if we aren’t, something bad might happen. The pressure is unbelievable.

(more…)

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