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Monday, September 16, 2019

CEO Insider

How to Stop the BMW Syndrome in Your Workplace

Did you know that the average employee spends 2.5 hours a day engaged in workplace drama? That statistic comes from Cy Wakeman, President and CEO of Reality-based Leadership. If you want your team to be more productive, you have to show them how to cut out the drama. Specifically, you’ll need them to stop their BMW: Bitching, Moaning and Whining.

Wakeman defines drama as “unproductive thought processes or disruptive behavior at work…including venting, judging, gossiping, scorekeeping, tattling, resisting change, and withholding buy-in.” In a recent interview on the Manage Smarter podcast, she explained how to make productive changes.

First off, you need to admit you’ve got a drama problem at work. No workplace is immune. You should also acknowledge that having a drama operator on your staff means you’ve got an emotionally expensive employee. This employee can be a rock star operationally. This employee could be your chief rainmaker. But in the end, the employee’s workplace antics will cost you. In Wakeman’s estimation, a high drama employee has a three to one cost ratio when compared to a low drama worker.

One way to reduce the drama is to avoid hiring these types of workers. Make the right decision when you’ve got a choice between a highly skilled dramatic candidate and a moderately skilled candidate who’s clearly not dramatic. Remember that you can always train the moderately skilled employee. Changing an employee’s drama quotient can be a lot more difficult.

When it’s necessary to get an employee’s dramatic act under control, start with increasing their accountability. This usually means asking your “BMW” employee to become self-aware. For example, when someone comes into your office with a complaint about another department or another individual, ask them to look at the situation from the other person’s perspective.

Over time, make it clear that you will not listen to long-winded “BMW” instances. As a manager, you’ve got more important things to do. Encourage your employees to come to you with a proposed solution or two to the problem they’ve identified. Developing solutions means they’re becoming more accountable.

Once that behavior starts, reward them with tangible benefits. To make sure the behavior continues, show employees they’re on the right track by giving them the independence to work from home or another desirable perk that also allows them to continue being high achievers. As these employees become highly accountable and solutions-oriented, they’re less interested in drama.

Have you read?

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C. Lee Smith
C. Lee Smith is the CEO and Founder of SalesFuel, a Columbus, Ohio-based firm that is named one of the Top 15 Sales Enablement Vendors in 2019 by Selling Power. Lee is a Gitomer Certified Advisor, one of an elite group of professionals worldwide licensed to train and consult using the works of Jeffrey Gitomer. Uniquely geared to service the fast-changing sales landscape, Lee is one of the country’s foremost experts on sales discovery and needs analysis, sales coaching, sales culture, hiring for sales, and sales management and leadership. Connect with him @cleesmith on Twitter, and on LinkedIn.
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