The Cost of Drama

“Failing because they provoke others to resist them.”  ~Arbinger 

Inefficiencies of human resources are the greatest hurdle to success. Or could we, more accurately, say human behavioral competencies are the greatest hurdle. And, to be clear, it’s not technical competency, it’s interpersonal competency. It’s Emotional Intelligence, commonly called, EQ.

Everyone can add and subtract, or can be taught. It’s recognized that there is an ever greater demand for employees with ever greater technical skills, i.e., analytics, programming, et al. Like adding and subtracting, technical expertise can be taught. Or bought (see outsourcing).

The troublesome inefficiencies are the dramas.

From the CEO to the part-time temp, individuals provoke others, usually without even realizing it. This leads to interpersonal resistance, a conscious, or even subconscious unwillingness to unite around a purpose/task/vision. The result is always to the person’s detriment, both professional and financial.

The ability to ‘choose responses’ and avoid ‘emotional reactions’ is a critical skill. Unfortunately, self-awareness and self-regulation are novel concepts to most everyone in the workforce, regardless of title, tenure, or collar-color.

A real life example:

Ron and Mitch are peers, each over 40 years of age, working for the same company for over seven years. They are each peak performers in identical positions, each leading five production teams. They and their wives have been friends for years.

One day there was a company meeting after hours at the local restaurant. Mitch’s wife happened to drive past and stopped by to say ‘Hi.’ The boss courteously invited her to join the group for dinner.

While eating, she messaged her friend, Ron’s wife, “Guess who got invited to the company dinner. Wonder why you didn’t get invited.” Next came jealousy and an endless chain of other emotional reactions.

It’s easy to guess where the relationship went from this point.

Today, Ron and Mitch don’t speak except when absolutely necessary. The synergies of their two teams are lost because the team members sense the discord and don’t know how to interact, fearing a perception of misplaced loyalties. Each feels unnecessarily divided. Productivity and efficiency are way down, all because some ‘emotional reactions’ over-rode the potential for wisely ‘chosen responses’ to this simple little scenario.

Company leaders are looking to replace Ron and Mitch as team leaders in order to regain previous levels of performance.

Ouch — the pain and cost of drama, to individuals, to careers, to families, to friendship, and to business.

It’s easy to say, “Just be professional.” That is not effective.

All of life is personal, even, and especially so, our professions.


  • Find a trainer/mentor who can teach the introspective skill of Emotional Intelligence.
  • Learn to see how you’re perceived by others. Learn how to build trust and accumulate allies.
  • Learn the three-fold skill of engagement to see your cause succeed.
  • Improve your ‘way-of-being’ to improve your career, your relationships, and, your life.