Hey Leaders: Dial Down the Drama

Posted October 25, 2010 in Communication, Latest News & Insights

Last week, Oprah interview Lisa Marie Presley about Michael Jackson’s death.  As Oprah continues to pull out all the stops for her much hyped final season, I started thinking that someone in the editing room was taking the drama a little too far and, as a result, had totally blown the message.  Check out the preview of the show:

Check out the video here.

Good grief… my husband and I laughed our heads off when we saw it (which I’m sure wasn’t the intended reaction).  It made me think that, when it comes to your message, there’s a fine line between creating a sense of drama and veering over into the realm of comedy.

From time to time, it’s important that we leaders have the ability to create a sense of dramatic urgency in order to rally the troops.  But, taken too far, there’s a definite risk that you’ll just become the butt of the water cooler jokes.

Case in point… one of my friends works for a firm that was driving to be number one in their field.  They pulled out a metaphor to “rally the troops” that talked about the company climbing to the summit.  As an employee, you were either “on the rope” or in “base camp”, meaning, you were either striving to be your best and help the company achieve success, or you were a slacker down in a tent below making s’mores.

Then, shortly after this motivating rallying cry, the economy tanked.  Hundreds of employees started getting “right sized” and, as one of the employees wisely stated: “It’s hard to be “on the rope” when the guy at the top is cutting it.”

Sometimes leaders do more harm-than-good by creating dramatic messages and giving over-the-top speeches.  Sometimes it’s better to just roll up your sleeves and get the work done without all the hype.

Happy leading!

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