Cy Wakeman hadn’t planned on being a drama researcher. She’d earned such a reputation during her time as a social worker and health administrator that, during her first maternity leave, she received numerous calls to help or manage leaders. Eventually, she started speaking. Her accountant finally looked at her and said, “You have to start a business.”
Drama is emotional waste that can be upcycled, Cy proposes. Her unique approach has helped multiple leaders and businesses transform the way they show up to work by diffusing or eliminating gossip and complaining. Two years in a row, she was named one of the Top Global Leadership Gurus and she’s a Top 100 Leadership Expert to Follow on Twitter.
Now, in her book (and podcast of the same name) No Ego, she dispels the myths of change (it’s not that hard) and engagement (it doesn’t always drive results). Listen now.
“Drama is fueled by the way we lead; it’s not just the cost of doing business.”
When you get a bunch of people together, you might expect that some won’t get along. That’s just the way it is. Right?
Cy disagrees. You can actively reduce drama in your organization. If you engage with your employees but you don’t hold them accountable (or worse, if they don’t hold themselves accountable), they become entitled. Time spent complaining or feeling victimized is unproductive, and by calling people to greatness and holding them accountable, you can increase output and wellbeing.
“We need to insist that people quit being shocked by change.”
During her daily meetings, Cy asks her team to share what they’re consuming, be it podcasts, books, or other media. This is part of increasing accountability and change readiness.
One of the greatest misconceptions in the workplace is that change is hard. Change isn’t hard, Cy says. Change is only hard for the unready. Everyone is responsible for their own growth. When you have leaders that sympathize and coddle, you decrease their accountability for action. A well-rounded, educated team that is curious about the world is adaptable to change and doesn’t play the victim or blame their environment for their circumstances.
“What can I do to stop judging and start helping?”
Picture a light switch on your head. People have two states, Cy says. You have a high-self and a low-self. The low self is the victim and blames the world for their circumstances – it’s full of ego. The high self looks inward and wonders, what’s my part in this mess? Switching between them requires self-reflection. If you can switch your team to be more accountable, you can create more collaborative, helpful team members.
Cy has been called “the secret weapon to restoring sanity in the workplace,” and we pretty much guarantee you’ll be rethinking how you show up tomorrow.