nontroversy in the workplace

Want more engagement and less knee-jerk decisions? Eliminate nontroversies.

A nontorversy is a controversy that isn’t. It’s artificial, manufactured, or falsely amplified. It’s a non-issue that is given more time and energy than is due. It’s making mountains out of molehills.

Nontorversies are easily seen in the political arena and talk radio. They are used as daily distraction and attempt to discredit opponents over non-issues.

Nontroversies are created in the workplace by the rumor mills, passive-aggressive people, complainers, people who create unnecessary drama as a hobby, or those who play cutthroat corporate politics. Some common examples:

Continual complaining about issues they don’t really care about.

Inflating the severity of other people’s mistakes so it goes several levels up the chain of command before everyone discovers it was very minor.

Creating new rules and policies before investigating how prevalent and persistent an issue is.

Over-reaction to pending legislation. Panicking before even knowing what it’s going to look like in real life.

Focusing on the fad and buzzword of the day.

Continually positioning oneself (or department) as the hero whenever anything goes wrong, no matter how minor.

Two faced complaining and finger pointing.

Finding flaws in other’s work to make oneself look better.

Over-labeling events. Forever referring to that time five people got laid off as “Black Tuesday.”

Harboring anger and resentment for issues that happened years ago and have long since been resolved.

Trauma and drama sell. People seem to love to gripe and find flaws and complain about any change. Nontroversies thrive wherever there is a lack of transparent, authentic, honest communication but they can pop up anywhere. That is their nature. Yesterday’s nontroversy is today’s old (yawn) news. Today’s nontraversy will be replaced with another tomorrow. Nontraversies don’t need substance. They don’t need logic. They don’t have to have a long shelf-life. They just need to give us something to overact to today.

High performing teams and companies can’t (and don’t) waste time and energy on non-issues. What are you doing to eliminate drama ? How do you keep the nontroversies at bay?

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