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You CAN Have a Drama Free Workplace! with Marlene Chism (Ep. #60)

The BetterManager Team
Building Better Managers Podcast Episode 60 - Marlene Chism

Building Better Managers Podcast Episode #60: You CAN Have a Drama Free Workplace! with Marlene Chism

Workplace drama can affect every aspect of business: Employee engagement, productivity, teamwork, customer service, and, ultimately, your bottom line. And from frontline managers to top-level executives, leaders often do not realize how much they themselves actually contribute to the conflict and drama within their workplaces.

Everyone has blind spots, so it’s critical to evaluate how conflict and drama are showing up in your workplace culture and start addressing these costly issues instead of ignoring them.

No workplace is immune to the effects of drama, so we’ve brought in Marlene Chism, the leading authority on building drama-free cultures, to discuss what leaders at every level can do to address this costly problem. Marlene is known for helping managers address “the elephant in the room” and initiate conversations that get results.

In this episode:

Meet Marlene Chism

  • Marlene is the author of four books, including Stop Workplace Drama, No-Drama Leadership, 7 Ways to Stop Drama in Your Healthcare Practice, and From Conflict to Courage: How to Stop Avoiding and Start Leading.
  • She's also an expert on the LinkedIn Learning platform, offering courses in Anger Management, Difficult Conversations, Difficult Conversations for Managers, and Working with High Conflict People as a Manager.
  • Marlene has a degree in Communications from Drury University and a Master’s degree in Human Resources Development from Webster University. She’s an advanced practitioner in Narrative Coaching.

What’s the Difference Between Leadership Identity and Leadership Clarity?

  • Leadership identity is how you see yourself, while leadership clarity is how you see the situation.

Why Is It Important for Leaders to Build a Leadership Identity?

  • Identity drives behavior, so if you don’t identify as a leader, you’ll still act like a buddy or a peer. You might struggle with  difficult decisions, become a "best friend" or "hero" leader, or be so hands off that you won’t be able to intercept problems when they first occur.
  • There are many leaders who are a leader in name only. They may not have studied the responsibilities when they got promoted, and they didn’t realize what they would be up against.

Building Conflict Capacity

  • Conflict capacity is a combination of three elements: Skills Development, Culture and the Inner Game.
  • Skill development without a strong inner game will only go so far!

The Checklist Mentality

  • A Checklist Mentality reduces the superiors positions to just making sure things get done, checking things off the list. But if the only focus is on the checklist, and your position within that checklist, you're missing that bigger part of management and leadership, which is encouraging other people and learning to delegate in a way that serves the whole.
  • Leadership Identity comes into play here, and it includes tasks and managing and the hard things and the scheduling and all the things that we that go with that role.
  • There are also people that have a Leadership Identity but aren't "official' leaders, but they still see themselves that way - they lead from a place of "I take initiative." The problem is when they see themselves as a leader, but others don't, there's a misalignment. You need to align positions of responsibility with leadership so that everyone agrees on the rules (and the consequences of not following them).

Next Steps

  • Work on releasing resistance. Because in conflict, there's almost always resistance. From the context of being a leader, we can identify someone else's resistance when they make excuses.
  • We can identify our own resistance from our feelings of negativity, a little bit of revenge going on, or not wanting to have a difficult conversation with someone that is conflict averse.
  • We can identify and deal with these pockets of resistance, but watch out for the trap of "resisting your resistance!"
  • The key is "the fulcrum point of change" - willingness. Be willing to have the conversation, especially when the those difficult factors are present!

Downloads & Resources

Follow Marlene on LinkedIn, Facebook and at MarleneChism.com.

Subscribe to our podcast on your favorite podcast platform!

Check out our blog articles on Leadership here.

Marlene Chism

Marlene is the author of four books, including Stop Workplace Drama, No-Drama Leadership, 7 Ways to Stop Drama in Your Healthcare Practice, and From Conflict to Courage: How to Stop Avoiding and Start Leading.

She's also an expert on the LinkedIn Learning platform, offering courses in Anger Management, Difficult Conversations, Difficult Conversations for Managers, and Working with High Conflict People as a Manager.

Marlene has a degree in Communications from Drury University and a Master’s degree in Human Resources Development from Webster University. She’s an advanced practitioner in Narrative Coaching.

Episode Transcript
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