When you put a group of people together in the workplace, there’s going to be drama. Even in the most congenial, cohesive group, it crops up occasionally. Maybe a coworker did something on a project that other people didn’t like. Or maybe there’s an unpopular new work policy that has people grumbling. There are a lot of things that can create drama. But whatever the cause, office drama is something that you should try to avoid.

Office drama doesn’t help people to address a problem or take steps to make things better. It just saps their energy, and makes them feel less engaged in their work. It tends to amplify peoples’ feelings of irritation or anger. It could potentially hurt another coworker’s feelings (if that person is at the center of the drama). And there’s always the risk that managers will learn about the drama and get upset about it. Office drama is destructive. For all of these reasons, it’s best to not get involved.

But how can you avoid getting drawn in? Author Natasha Burton has a few suggestions:

  • Try to stay positive – Even though it can sometimes be difficult, try to look at the positive side of things. If you’re feeling upbeat about your work, you’ll be less likely to get embroiled in office drama.
  • Be nice to ALL of your coworkers – Don’t act like you’re in high school. Don’t form a clique and exclude the people who aren’t a part of that small group. Just be nice to everyone. Try to see the good in your coworkers (even the ones that can sometimes frustrate you). It will make life so much better for everyone.
  • Don’t vent at work – Do you ever feel the need to vent about something that happened at work? Well, don’t do it while you’re in the office! The things that you say may be overheard and spread around the workplace. And before you know it, you may be seen as someone who is “making trouble” or “stirring the pot.” Instead, wait until you get home (or perhaps until you’re out at happy hour) before you express those feelings of frustration.
  • Don’t complain online – Don’t write negative emails or texts. And don’t respond to an email when you’re feeling angry. If you’re feeling upset, stay offline until you’ve had the chance to calm down. Give it some time. If you’re still upset after a cooling off period, think about what your next steps should be. Maybe you need to schedule a meeting with your manager to discuss the issue? But whatever you do, don’t send that angry email. It’s always a mistake.
  • Try to come up with solutions – Instead of focusing on problems, try to figure out possible solutions. And, if possible, try to get your coworkers to help you in your efforts. Just by focusing on how to make things better, you’ll actually make things better!

Burton, N. (2015, June 30). Six strategies for avoiding office drama. Fast Company. Retrieved from: https://www.fastcompany.com/3047937/six-strategies-for-avoiding-office-drama

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