The Need For Drama (NFD)…

The other day, I was chatting with a friend about reunions. It seems like ‘that’ time of the year, for most in our age group. He mentioned that while it’s great fun to attend reunions, being there is even more interesting! Everyone is there, trying to make some sort of a statement. At one point in time, he walked into a group where the conversation seemed like they were having those ‘group discussions’ that take place as part of the college admission process. From both our experiences, it was evident – the need for drama just does not seem to go away.

Forget reunions. We seem to love drama on a day to day basis, both professionally and personally – living the idea that the world is a stage and we are all actors!

And that really is the point. If we are all actors, then where does the drama end and where do we begin? Are we really living and being who we are?

In the professional world, leadership is about clarity, choice and candor, teamed with the ability to manage change and communicate effectively. Self-awareness is important as leaders, but it is equally important to be aware of other people and cultures. When either one of them fails or is absent, ignored and repressed, drama sets in, as we seem to be hard wired for it.

A lot of us grew up hearing ‘offense is the best form of defense’. While it holds ground in war and games (basically a strong offensive approach potentially detracts the opposition and hence inhibits their ability to counterattack) we tend to use this in our day to day life as well. And that is how problems are created. We use it to overcome our shortcomings and acknowledging dependency on others. Most times this offense is channelized through impulsive outspokenness, with little context or reason.

Beyond a point, people see right through it. This need for drama in a team and organization environment is detrimental to productivity, culture and growth. So what can one do about it?

I’m reminded of the famous comedian and television personality Craig Ferguson, who aptly said that at any point in time, we all have three choices:

  1. Does anything need to be said?
  2. Do I need to say it? And finally…
  3. Do I need to say it now?

This ‘Need for Drama’ is so strong in many of us and the hype is so great – but I think we can do with some questioning, like Craig Ferguson shared. It not only helps in creating self-awareness but also reduces the NFD syndrome…