Rising Above Workplace Drama

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Drama at work can be distracting and draining. It is often hard to avoid, but gaining awareness will help you spot, label, and steer clear of unhealthy situations. Here are some ideas that will help you maintain your peace and keep your boundaries intact.

Identify it
The first step is recognizing and identifying what you’re experiencing as “drama”, and the characteristics of those who seem to create it. When you notice toxic behavior such as gossiping, spreading rumors, complaining, blaming, not taking responsibility for mistakes, or ranting about perceived slights, you can easily identify those people who will always be surrounded by problems (often of their own making).

Do not engage
To avoid being held prisoner by anyone who drains you of your energy or productivity, do not engage. The more you engage, the more time you spend in toxic conversations that waste precious time. When you start to feel dragged into gossip, you can try changing the subject, offering a diplomatic response, or explaining that you have a tight deadline, and you’ll catch up with them later. Having an “it’s none of my business” attitude will show those around you that you’re not interested in being involved.

Detach yourself
The common saying “You didn’t cause it and you can’t cure it” applies here. This person was a drama-causer long before you came into the picture and trying to change them is a waste of energy. Detach from situations and people that are out of your control and instead be an example to them, and to the company, of the type of boundaries that are set by a professional who helps to improve the office environment.

Stay calm
If you are dragged into some office drama, try to stay calm and diplomatic. Pause before you react, allowing your emotions to calm and common sense to enter. Avoid responding impulsively and wait until you can see the bigger picture and what is best for you, and your business relationships.

Try talking instead of emailing
If you receive a rude email, instead of firing back a hostile response and copying in their boss, try taking the high road by picking up the phone to discuss it directly. It can be difficult to face conflict head-on but involving others before trying to come to a resolution only exacerbates the issue and creates more problems. Work on resolving any misunderstandings on a personal level first and you’ll avoid potential embarrassment, and give you and your co-worker an opportunity for growth.

Focus on positivity
Choose to surround yourself with people at work who have positive energy and have similar professional boundaries. Move your focus away from any toxic, difficult people and make the choice to be around those who encourage a healthy, happy work environment.

By Emily Hinshaw. We hope you find these ideas helpful!

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