Whenever we face a workplace crisis of any proportion, we get to witness the character of the leaders. Do they work toward resolution or do they focus on the drama?
In my line of work, I frequently assist clients through various crises: claims of sexual harassment, allegations of employee theft, etc. One thing always stands out to me: It’s the way in which the organizational leaders react. It’s caused me to examine and alter my own response to crisis.
I am a list maker. I come from a long line of list makers. It’s in my DNA. So, since that comes natural to me, when faced with a crisis, that’s where I start. As soon as I’m made aware of an issue, I start a list. On my list might be:
- Who needs to be informed of the situation and why
- What immediate steps need to be taken to control damage
- What assignments need to be made to accomplish the damage control steps
- What new policies/procedures/controls need to be put in place to prevent future issues
My list keeps me on target toward crisis resolution. Because I’m focused on solutions, I’m too busy to be distracted by those who would want to steer me towards the drama of it all.
Those drama junkies get nothing productive accomplished. They consume inordinate amounts of time going from one person to another sharing what they know in hopes of gleaning a few new facts from their conversation buddy. They don’t usually want to spend too much time with me because as soon as I’m approached by one of the Drama Bees (so named for their propensity to flit from one “honey” source to another), I check my list and give them an assignment. The conversation usually goes something like this:
Drama Bee – Have you heard the latest?
Me – Oh! I’m so glad you stopped by (meanwhile I’m checking my list.) I need your help in creating a new policy. Could you take the lead and draft something for executive review by the end of the day tomorrow?
It works every time. From that point on, the Drama Bee avoids me. Not only am I not a source of “honey,” I am a source of real work and no Drama Bee wants to hang around productive people.
How do you respond in time of crisis? Do you talk about it or do you roll up your sleeves and get busy? I challenge you to consider your reaction and alter it, if necessary.
Be part of the solution.
You will emerge a much stronger and more effective leader. There are enough Drama Bees already.
Image by Andy Hay
With many years of senior-level human resources experience in the private sector environment, Joyce Chastain, SPHR brings practical know-how to each engagement. Her human resources consulting practice specializes in talent development, employee relations, internal investigations, employment law compliance, and affirmative action plans. She is the owner of Chastain Consulting and currently serves as the 2013-2014 President of the HR Florida State Council.