According to drama researcher and international keynote speaker Cy Wakeman, we spend on average of 2.5 hours per day complaining, creating stories and arguing with reality!

Now I am sure your immediate response to this statistic is, “not me!” That was certainly the response when I recently shared this with a group of future and senior leaders in a workshop I conducted. However when I went on to share some examples of complaining that we often hear in an office, the response changed to, ‘Maybe I do!”

Complaints like:

“I don’t have time for this training, I have too much work on.”

“The cleaner didn’t empty my bin last night.”

“I’m too tired to go to the work function tonight.”

“My colleague is slacking off and I am doing all of the work.”

“Nobody tells me anything.”

You get the drift — the list could go on and on!

So much leadership time is wasted dealing with complaining and drama that could easily be avoided by individuals taking personal responsibility for their own circumstances.

I was very happy to hear this as a common theme coming from the largest global HR Conference SHRM, which I attended in New Orleans recently. The leadership stream focused on the role of a leader changing to a reality based leadership model. The leader’s new role is to help employees eliminate emotional waste by facilitating good mental processes, such as helping people to ask the right questions that are not based on blaming others but rather centre around personal responsibility. Guiding people to self-reflect rather than vent and to focus on the facts rather than the story.

Imagine if we could gain an extra 2.5 hours per day per employee in positive and engaged activity rather than drama? That could change a business or department entirely.

While this is not something that can happen overnight I want to get the message out to leaders, managers and individuals in general that it is time for each person in the workplace to understand that their results are because of their own actions. Our level of accountability determines our happiness, not the circumstances around us.

So let’s ditch the drama and be more productive and happier at work and home!


This article first appeared in Smart Company. To view the article click here

Author: Sel Watts
Sel, the Founder of wattsnext Group, is a visionary and inspiring business leader. With a deep passion for small to medium business (SMB), Sel brings gutsy honesty and commercial realism to the table. A true entrepreneur, Sel is committed to disrupting the way business owners utilise HR and increase performance and engagement. She is also curious about technology and the future of work, using her business as an experimental lab of forward-thinking methodologies to help her clients achieve peak performance. Sel is also the Co-Founder of multiple businesses and spends time coaching other business owners, keeping it real with her vast tactical experience of growing businesses. She also has a pretty interesting life story which you can check out at her personal website