Are you at your wits’ end trying to deal with staff who don’t get along? The near-constant stream of he-said, she-said is not just exhausting, but it detracts from your team’s focus on the work. Worse yet, you feel like you’ve got to spend your time being a kindergarten cop. Not fun.
Don’t Just Hope It’ll Go Away, Do Something About the Drama!
While hope is not a strategy, there’s no reason to give up hope. And, don’t worry, you won’t have to have one of those difficult conversations that makes everyone uncomfortable and gets you nowhere other than feeling like an inept manager or, worse yet, like a jerk because all you could think to do is “lay down the law.”
Keep reading if you want find out how to eliminate the problem in way that results in everyone feeling heard and valued, and, importantly, behaving appropriately.
Follow These Three Simple Steps to Eliminate Drama
First, as obvious as this may sound, if you want to eliminate drama, you can’t add to it. You have to embody what you want to create, which means staying calm and maintaining your equanimity. Don’t get caught up. Don’t get angry. And don’t let the drama get under your skin. Wait to address the drama as described below until you’ve had time to prepare.
Second, focus the drama-seekers on the reason they come work. And I am not talking about a paycheck. If you work in human services, the reason is to help others. If you lead a team of creatives, it’s about being able to express one’s creativity on behalf of the organization or a client. And so on. Reminders of their personal mission are essential to getting team members to put their energy into productive rather than unproductive behaviors. Most people will “reset” their behavior if you so.
Third, recognize that the drama is merely a symptom of an underlying problem that you need to deal with. Listen for the drama seeker’s feelings and unmet needs. You may not be able to discern the entire picture, but you’ll be in the neighborhood. With this in mind, talk with each offending team member so that you can collaboratively develop a strategy for meeting the unmet need. Doing so permanently eliminates the drama once and for all!
If you’d like more information on step three, download Awareness of Others, which is excerpted from The Workplace Toolkit: Actionable Approaches to People Problems. And, if you found this helpful, please share with your friends and colleagues. And, don’t forget to let us know how you’ve dealt with drama in your workplace!