It’s bound to happen; you simply cannot escape drama in the workplace, but you can learn how to better manage it. Just like in any micro-society, your office dynamic can be diverse, cliquey, and usually includes a specific social hierarchy. While some tend to steer clear of the nonsense, it seems others love to put fuel to the fire and further exasperate the issue. For most, the worst part of office drama is even if you aren’t involved in the scandal, you are affected. It can disrupt your schedule, wreak havoc on your productivity, and put you and your co-workers needlessly on edge.
Identifying the Root of the Problem
So exactly how does one deal with the drama; experts say it’s how you deal with the situation that makes the difference. Becoming alert to the office “drama queen(s)” and how they operate is the first step. These individuals crave the drama and are the first to jump on the hysteria-spreading bandwagon. Not only do drama queens love the hype, they also know how to make speculations and spread rumors like wildfire. When confronted by these baddies with drama related Intel, it’s best to hit the road. Heading in the other directions is your best defense against the drama queens.
Learn How to React
Good news or bad, you need to react nonchalantly. How drama spreads is less about the story and more about how others are reacting to the news. Keeping a level head no matter what information you are fed is the only way to keep your side of the cubicle drama free. When confronted by another co-worker with “astonishing” office revelations it’s best to respond dryly; don’t be sarcastic and offer a neutral position when pressed.
Express Your Office Drama Concerns with Management
Company policies are the Ten Commandments of the workplace; if disobeyed, staff members know there will be consequences. If the drama is spiraling out of control, management may need to hear about it. This way, policies and guidelines regarding gossip, disclosure of personal information, and the spread of unverified information can be formally regulated.
Resolve Disputes Before they Get Out of Hand
The office dynamic is as uniquely diverse as each individual staff member. This means not everyone will get along all the time. Resolving a conflict with another staff member before it gets out of hand can help keep the office drama at a minimum. Most people try to avoid conflict, but if approached with sincerity many people respond positively. If your co-worker is absolutely opposed to resolving the argument, it may be time to get management involved.
The Issue with Leaving Personal Issues at Home
In a perfect world, everyone would leave their personal baggage at the office entrance. But that sometimes is simply impossible; in some instances these personal issues involve another staff member, in others the personal problem may just be too intense to forget about during the workday. There is no easy answer to this drama mill favorite, but there are a few tips to keep in mind. For instance, if you notice a co-worker is having a particularly rough day, don’t speculate as to why and certainly don’t let the drama queens catch wind of the issue. If another staff member confides in you about a personal problem, try and keep the info under your hat.
Stopping the rumors before they start can seriously reduce the potential for office drama. Though office drama will never completely cease, you can usually avoid it and help stop the spread. Keeping a level head and being responsive to conflict resolution are the two most important elements to ensuring you’re never at the center of the drama circle and effectively stops the queens in their tracks.