Summary of Reality-Based Leadership

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Drama is emotionally expensive. Making up stories based on judgments about your circumstances is human nature, but those stories chew up time and energy and warp your decisions. Leadership consultant Cy Wakeman presents a simple but powerful process for clearing away blame, excuses and unenthusiastic performance. Much of Wakeman’s advice is common sense, in keeping with her “reality-based” outlook. She challenges commonly held beliefs about employee management, most notably the idea that the workplace is a democracy. getAbstract recommends her hard-nosed insights to leaders who are ready to conquer the drama.

About the Author

Speaker, workshop trainer and consultant Cy Wakeman blogs for FastCompany.



Maybe It’s All in Your Head

Imagine yourself as an employee whose managers just promoted a co-worker who flattered the boss. You work harder, so you feel snubbed. In your mind, your workplace rewards political connections and ignores the people, like you, who contribute the most. But your conclusion is not “reality-based.” You live inside a story that you have created, and – like most other people – you act according to your beliefs, not the facts. Your emotional reactions to your workplace circumstances provide the raw material for your story about them.

“Nothing would get done around here if it weren’t for me,” “I’m underpaid for what I do” and “My co-workers don’t appreciate me” are all typical self-constructed narratives. But work’s not making you crazy, you are. Seeing things as they are is one thing and imbuing reality with meaning is another. When you judge other people’s motives and make assumptions about the causes and effects of their actions, you create an expensive productivity drain.

The most common stories that people make up star themselves in the role of victim. This “learned helplessness” limits their potential more than any external obstacle...

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