Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Drama Queen

There’s a new business book out there – The Drama Free Office – by Jim Warner and Kaley Warner Klemp, and my first thought on seeing this title is, ‘Come on, who wants a fully drama free office. That’s no fun.’ My second thought was are Jim and Kaley father-daughter? Brother-sister? Just the sort of biographic note that those of us who favor a bit of intra-office drama would like to know.

Since I do so love an on-line personality quiz, I did take their self-assessment survey to see where I land on the drama curve. In my most recent on-line quiz, I learned that the Boston Bruin I am most like is Mark Recchi, which, quite frankly, I had guessed would be the answer even before I started picking and choosing.

As for evaluating my “tendencies to fall into energy-draining drama in [my] interactions with others. Specifically, [the survey] assesses your tendencies across the four primary drama types: the Complainer, the Cynic, the Controller, and the Caretaker”, if I’d given much thought to it, I’d have guessed that my dramatic tendencies would have been along the Complainer, Cynic and Caretaker vectors. But overall, I would say that, when it comes to workplace drama, I’m more dramaturge than actor.

This jives, I guess, with the overall “Healthy Tendencies” rating that I scored high on – well into the Healthy range of the scale (as opposed to the middle ground Caution zone, or the you-bad Concern arena).

Authentic behaviors include: your sense of fairness; your ability to stay curious; your ability to collaborate with others; your commitment to self-improvement; your creativity and capacity to innovate; your emotional awareness; broad, open thinking; your ability to honor commitments and support others; your energy and enthusiasm; your ability to be responsible and to do the hard thing; and your overall sense of groundedness and stability.

Now, I don’t want to appear to be too much of a “life with me in the office is good” braggart, but I do believe I make a pretty darned good worker/manager/managee/colleague. And this does seem to describe work me pretty well, although I will say it took me a while, career-wise, to get to the point where I could tackle hard interpersonal things, as opposed to hard, drudge work, thankless task, weekend warrior things.

With respect to the four dramatis personae, I was surprisingly “Healthy” with respect to being a Complainer. I say surprisingly, because I do so love a good piss and moan. But the Complainer behaviors are listed as:

… your tendency to make excuses for mistakes; blaming others when things go wrong; your tendency to
sidestep tough tasks; struggling to finish what you start; complaining about lack of support or resources; confusion or indecision under pressure; and your tendency to feel sorry for yourself.

So, no, I guess I’m not that much of a complainer.

I was slightly in the Caution zone as a Cynic. After all, I have been known to some extent for:

…using derogatory humor; making sniping remarks; a negative or judgmental attitude..

But only towards those who, in my judgment, completely, 100% deserved it. (And yes, NF, FN, and DM, I am talking about you. No, not you, DM. The other, nasty-boy DM. You don’t know him. It was a different company.)

I’m a Healthy Controller, which does not surprised me. Whatever my flaws as a manager, micro-management wasn’t one of them.

I was in the middle of the Caution zone with respect to Caretaker tendencies like “avoiding conflict…becoming overcommitted…taking on too much responsibility for problems; rescuing or enabling others”.

I must say my career became easier once I realized that there was nothing that I could single-handedly do that was going to save any of the places I worked from the inevitable outcome of its death spiral, once the gyring began.

So I think my self-assessment was pretty true. But, hey, it was a self-assessment. At this point in my career – since I’m no longer working full-time anywhere, but do the free-lance thing – I don’t really care to have anyone else evaluate me, thank-you. (Especially NF, FN, or nasty-boy DM.)

I will say that I was an occasional actor in a workplace drama. Early on, my cameos tended to involve breaking into tears.

Once I completely lost it with someone in my group who was ridiculously, out-of-her-mind bugging me. My outburst was brief, and I felt better until I realized that she was, in fact, out of her mind and had substantial mental health issues. Oh, well, I’m an MBA, not a psychologist.

My most highly dramatic, near-leading role was, I guess, when I got into an argument with my boss (the president of a small software company) about how we were going to talk to the survivors in the aftermath of a major lay-off we had planned. We went back and forth for a while about how to position the lay-off, and we were in completely different camps.

In my swan statement on the matter, I told him, “You say what you’re going to say. I’ll say what I’m going to say. And we’ll see who they believe.’


All of a sudden my name was on that lay-off list.

Although I realized that he was going to fire me, it never occurred to me to apologize.

And all these years later I still know that I was right and he was wrong.

I was short-term distraught to be fired, and long-term delighted.

What’s work without a bit of drama now and then.

No comments: