Will you help us write our next book?
Our first book
Publishing our first book, Beyond Drama: Transcending Energy Vampires, was a life-changing experience. The hardest thing I’ve ever done, and one of the most rewarding projects of my career. Since it’s release in 2013, Beyond Drama has been sold internationally and become a staple in our coaching, training, and advising relationships. It’s packed with tips and tools for understanding and responding to personal and professional drama. In this book we introduced our concept of compassionate accountability and suggested that positive conflict can be a force for good. Watch video.
In the last two years our reach and our passion have grown. We’ve learned a ton from our clients, our thinking continues to evolve, and we’ve developed better models and strategies for leveraging positive conflict through compassionate accountability. We now work globally and have launched a complete training, coaching, and train-the-trainer system called Leading Out of Drama. We are driven by the desire to impact more lives and put our tools in the hands of motivated, enthusiastic change agents who share our passion for transforming the negative energy of drama into world-changing results.
Our next book
Our next book, currently titled Compassionate Accountability, will be a comprehensive leadership and coaching guide for leveraging the positive conflict to drive business results. It will accompany our training courses, provide guides for coaching leaders, and represent our latest discoveries about what’s working with our clients.
Will you help?
I want your help. I will simultaneously be writing the book and publishing blogs about concepts going into the book. I’d love your feedback, reactions, additional ideas and dialogue about what you are reading along the way. Does it resonate with you? What’s missing? What would help you most easily apply the concepts I’m writing about? Are there other resources or studies you know about that apply?
Every blog will have a place for your comments. Will you get involved and help me write a book that you would love to read?
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Fascinating topic, Nate. I just saw this article on computing kindness scores and thought it might interest you.
In the work place, at what point is the struggle over? I have a business to run — I am not there to struggle with my staff, that does not return income, which I must do to pay them.
I read a story once about a man who owned a business having a conversation at the company picnic with his niece’s fiancé, who was in business school. He asked the business student, “why do you think I have so many happy employees?” The guy guessed the owner “paid them well,” and “had good benefits” and “had a good work environment,” to which the owner shook his head, all three times.
“No,” he said, “None of those things. The reason I have happy employees is because I let the unhappy ones go.”
Unhappy employees poison the whole group, and generally, their unhappiness has nothing to do with work. They may blame it on work, but really, it’s their marriage, their finances, or dissatisfaction with their lives. When that happens, I say, “things have changed, and it’s not working out anymore,” and I take their key and they are free to address their issues. Difficult, but, I have found, very true.
Great question, Sue Ann. Many leaders we work with struggle with the same question; how much effort should I make, and when should I let them go? There’s a spectrum of philosophies. On one end is the leader who believes, “You should be grateful to have a job. I expect a good attitude and hard work. Period.” At the other end of the spectrum is the leader who believes, “My job is to coach and develop you not only as an employee but as a person. Every day I want to earn your loyalty, engagement, and discretionary energy.”
While I am in favor of not tolerating toxic behavior, I see a couple negative consequences to your company picnic business owner’s philosophy. First of all, he is likely missing out on great talent that may need more coaching and attention to reach his/her full potential. He isn’t aware of this since he isn’t interested in engaging with these people. Second, happiness is not the ultimate goal. Sure, happy employees work harder, but employees who are feeling challenged, receiving coaching and mentoring, and being held accountable for clear goals are much more fulfilled and productive. Many of these good employees were drama-queens and kings before someone got involved in a positive way.
Very often employees bring personal drama into work. Adopting a zero-tolerance policy for drama might sound nice, but it does nothing to help employees learn better ways of managing their stress and communicating with each other. We wouldn’t expect excellence in a person’s technical skills without offering them help to improve. Many employees simply lack the emotional intelligence skills to do anything different. The best companies to work for focus not just on technical skills of the job, but on developing their employees’ portable soft-skills, which reap rewards in many areas of their lives.
Sue Ann, if you fire someone because they are unhappy and dissatisfied and infect the workplace, then be direct with them about this. Telling them, “things have changed and it’s not working out anymore,” is not honest. It avoids the positive conflict of disclosing your true feelings about the situation, describing the specific behavior that is causing the problem, engaging the person in problem-solving opportunities, and reinforcing standards for your workplace. This is the creative conflict of compassionate accountability. This is “struggling with.” It’s hard work and the benefits are well worth it.
Even leaders who are skilled at the art of struggling with others in compassionate accountability still make tough decisions to let people go. Knowing how to struggle with, and when it’s time to call it, is one of the evolving arts of leadership.