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Manage The Drama

Whenever I ask a group the following question, the answer is a resounding "yes." Is there too much drama at work? Drama feeds on itself. People who crave the drama may not even know that they do, they simply repeat whatever it takes to make any situation emotional. Run out of supplies? It must be somebody's fault = drama! Behind schedule on that big project? = drama! Struggling with demanding and unreasonable customers? = drama! Drama creates tension that craves release -- which likely then drums up more drama. Breathe. Slow down. Skip the blame and play a new game -- one of cooperation, curiosity, and respect. My latest way of dealing with drama is simply to pause long enough to smile -- as I ponder: "Ah, I recognize this. Drama!" It's completely made-up, and it can be completely by-passed. ; Manage the drama so that it does not manage you.


  A problem is a change in need of a push. Push. -- doug smith

Learn the Lesson...

Ever have to repeat a lesson because you didn't get it the first time? Of course. Me, too. I figured out that the biggest reason is that I was in such a hurry to get back on track that I got back on the wrong track. Before you know it, same mistake, and basically the same lesson. Slow down enough to learn the lesson and you might not need to repeat it. I'm hoping that works for me. How about you? -- doug smith  

It's Not A Family

You don't have to create a family at work. Families come with their own difficulties and if you've ever worked in a family business you know all about that. People at work don't have to love each other, but they do need to respect each other. Communicating clearly and honestly is a start. Collaborating instead of competing helps. Do your job, jump in to help when you're needed, and keep supporting the team's mission and goals. You don't need to create a family at work to build a great team. What you need is clarity, courage, creativity, and compassion.  Great leaders create the atmosphere where those core strengths prosper. -- doug smith

Is It Ethical?

  The best, most reliable leaders make ethical choices. You may have discovered, though, that people do define ethical in many different ways. For some, if it's right for the it must be ethical, even when it is not right for someone else. We do need a better standard. As leaders we serve best when we do no harm. Any leadership that produces victims is poor leadership headed for long term failure.  If you have to ask if something is ethical you probably already know the answer. Just imaging how you would feel if you were not given the choice.  -- doug smith

Constantly Build Your Team

  As we adjust to the changing roles and responsibilities of leadership, it's worth considering the importance of our teams. Leaders get things done thru their teams. Often that means learning FROM our team members even as we facilitate their own learning. Instead of dictating, new leaders collaborate. Team success is a shared goal. The strength of a leader comes from the strength of the team. Not the other way around. If that feels new, it is.  -- doug smith

What If You Know The Secret?

The project team is stuck. Answers are not only hard to find, they seem impossible. The problem keeps causing mistakes and creating barriers. Within robust conversations we discover that although far from perfect, the process with the problem offers plenty of opportunity. Something small and almost unnoticeable turns out to be useful.  Within every problem is something that is working. What if that contains the secret to success? -- doug smith

Caring About Change

  Have you ever felt a sudden change that you did not approve of? Maybe your company decides that you have reduced hours. Or, maybe your boss decides that the promotion you were counting on is best given to someone else. Change is like a dance we did not choose the music to. Change is like an invitation to a party filled with strangers. Change rocks our world, and only sometimes makes it better. How are you using change to makes things better? Good luck is a change you can approve of. Bad luck is a change that you do not approve of, but that happens anyway. Change basically does not care what you think. The choice is still up to you. Which next change gives you positive choices? Where is your best choice? -- doug smith

There Is Always More to Learn

It may be comforting to lean on what we've already learned, but it's not enough. That doesn't mean that we need to abandon everything that we've learned, just to pay attention to what is changing. We can rely on learned foundational principles like continuous learning, ethical leadership, participative leadership, respectful communication and other core strengths that serve us well and that still matter. We also need to react to and find ways to manage brand new learning. Just exactly WILL we lead completely virtual workforces? How WILL we manage misinformation? What SHOULD we do about creating fair opportunities? There is much to be learned, but then again there always HAS been much to learn. The challenge now is to keep up the pace, to distinguish truth from deception, and to treat people with respect while building our own flexibility. What we've learned is important. What we still must learn is critical. -- doug smith 

Difficult People Struggle

Do you ever struggle with difficult people?  Don't we all? It can be frustrating -- so frustrating that we do our best to avoid confrontation. It can be so troubling that we try to put distance between ourselves and those difficult people. Or, it can be so troubling that we do everything we can to return that trouble -- to confront with strength and conviction. Either way, if someone feels like a difficult person, imagine how difficult the situation feels to them. Sometimes difficult people are most difficult to themselves. Maybe they need more help than confrontation. Isn't that worth considering? -- doug smith