Is office “drama” hurting your team’s accountability?

First, the context: anyone paying attention to society these days understands there are multiple reasons why people are on edge: Inconsistent masking policies, varying Work-from-Home and Return-to-Office policies, home-testing when anyone has the sniffles, and the increase of negative/toxic news in politics and world affairs. We like to call all of these things “wonky.” There’s a lot of wonkiness right now.

Expecting accountability

Organizations need accountability to thrive. Lately, we’ve heard from leaders worrying about accountability in their organizations, because they are hearing, feeling, sensing a surge of office drama. One client asked: “Paul, do you have a concise, relatable, understandable definition of ‘drama’ that I can use to get my team back on track?”

The reply:

Office drama happens when individuals put out their individual needs into the public spaces, over and above the organizational needs. It’s a distraction that diverts attention from the spirit of accountability.

If you are wondering about “accountability” in your organization, here’s a simple way to assess:

  • Accountability slips when people are not committed to the team’s priorities and goals
  • Commitment wanes when people are not aligned with vision, strategy, and goals
  • When the team at the top is not aligned, it creates a lot of suffering (drama.)

Office drama is a symptom of low commitment and/or weak alignment.

Coaching advice: If you are seeing, feeling, sensing unnecessary drama use your diagnostic skills to determine why someone is airing their personal needs in the public spaces of the organization. If it’s personal unrest, then it’s an HR solution. If it’s a structural lack of alignment and/or commitment within the team, then it’s a leadership issue.

If you are seeing, feeling, or sensing drama that’s distracting, reach out.