Workplace drama is inevitable. Whether it’s a result of workplace gossips or just office stress, it’s going to bubble over at some point. But how can you avoid the worst of it?
I’ve found some good tips on avoiding #drama over at PyschCentral. I think the writer is a therapist who also works in ‘compassion fatigue’ and was the COO of a psychiatric hospital in America. Here are some of her tips for common situations:
You hear a co-worker has been calling you lazy and incompetent
Ignore the gossip if you can. If you can’t, go to the source and see what’s up. If you’re worried about speaking to the source, see if there’s a supervisor you can chat to about what’s happening.
The biggest gossips in the office are trying to get you to join their clique
Leave the invite on the doormat. While it might appeal to your inner devil to spend coffee breaks with biscotti and backstabbing, you don’t want to be associated with negativity and complainers.
A workmate gets angry and accuses you of not pulling your weight
Don’t respond immediately. Let the situation calm down a bit and take the time to listen to their point of view. Taking them seriously will help defuse things. To help keep your cool, imagine there’s a superior present while talking to them.
My absolute favourite piece of advice on avoiding drama is from Marcus Aurelius. He was Emperor of Rome from 161 to 180AD and he knew that other people can suck you into their emotional quicksand.
Aurelius constantly had to deal with gossip, backstabbing, sycophants, wheeler-dealers and worse. When you’re the most powerful man in the world, people are either going to try to get something from you, or do you in. Here’s what he wrote in his personal diary, now known as the Meditations.
Say to yourself in the early morning: ‘I shall meet today inquisitive, ungrateful, violent, treacherous, envious, uncharitable men. All these things have come upon them through ignorance of real good and ill.’