Why we are so attracted to office dramas and how to deal with them

What do office dramas look like?

Power struggles, insubordination, gossip and team fights—office dramas can take many forms. If you frequently have difficult conversations with colleagues, are afraid of making a mistake, are sure that you need to hide something from your manager, or constantly worry about your reputation – all this indicates that unhealthy office dramas are unfolding in the workplace.

What is the attraction of office dramas

Most of us find it difficult to look the other way when dramatic events are happening nearby. Especially if someone else is in the lead role.

“People need a break. Office dramas are entertainment that satisfies our natural need to relax. And they are especially attractive when the gossip is about employees we know very well,” explains corporate relations specialist Gilda Carl.

We are all social beings who study the world around us by comparing ourselves to others . Therefore, when another drama appears on the horizon in which you can participate, we instinctively plunge into the thick of things. We take this as a confirmation that society accepts us, and our opinion is valued.

Workplace drama is not for everyone, but for those who love it, scandals and gossip are a great way to take your mind off the boring routine and mundane environment. “Many people in a wide variety of positions crave something new,” notes psychologist David Rakofsky, “and spicy intrigue more than satisfies this need.”

In addition, it comforts insecure people. “When we are only witnesses to the drama, and not participants in it, it may seem to us that we are showing ourselves as more stable and reliable employees, worthy of more than troublemakers,” the expert explains.

When we consciously or unconsciously compare ourselves to others, we show off how much better we are. We stop building our identity around being responsible and trustworthy people, which is bad for business.

Why are office dramas dangerous?

They often appear harmless when in fact they can have serious consequences. Exacerbation of office drama can deeply hurt the feelings and damage the reputation of people, deprive them of motivation and isolate them from the team. “Things may start out as an innocent short break from the routine, but it’s much better to laugh with your colleagues, not at them. In the long run, this will help you save your career,” emphasizes Gilda Carl.

Office dramas are also bad for a business’s ability to grow, develop, and attract talented employees. “Companies whose leaders do not take office drama seriously become inert. When we are busy with scandals, it is difficult for us to make important decisions and push others to do so. There’s always another turf fight or brawl that we digress into,” says Richard Hawkes, founder of Growth River, a business development services company.

How to deal with office drama

If you are a leader

Real leaders must be ready to lead a team. “We need to create a work environment in which bosses are responsible for the results of their subordinates. This will allow you to deal with problems in the first place. Without such an important step, it is impossible to change the behaviors that interfere with effective work,” notes Richard Hawkes.

The expert also recommends talking to employees: “ Corporate culture and leadership should be the main topics. To cope with office drama, you need to remember the overall goal, focus on it and understand from what point of view to look at it. Take the problem, talk and figure out what’s going on.”

According to Richard Hawkes, there are at least four paths for a manager who is faced with office drama or any conflict situation:

  • Gather courage and demand more decent behavior from employees and better attitude towards each other. This is the best choice.
  • Learn to disengage from the situation and live in constant stress. “It’s usually a bad idea. People pretend that they don’t care until they reach the boiling point, ”the expert notes.
  • Leave the company, leave your team and get another job.
  • Become part of the problem and join the game. “This is not a worthy choice. If the problem cannot be solved, it is a noble act to leave the company,” says Richard Hawkes.

Take note 🤦‍♀️🤦‍♂️

If you are a subordinate

First of all, remember that you are not 15 years old. If you don’t get along with a colleague, don’t show him or her and stop even saying hello. Remember that the office is a place where everyone should behave like a professional. You don’t have to be friends with colleagues , but you do need to be able to get along with them.

Avoid discussing other employees and supervisors in the workplace. Even the most harmless dialogues can lead to misunderstandings and unnecessary conflicts. Talking about how you are tired of everything, it is better to leave it at home.

During conflicts, keep a cool head and do not chop off the shoulder. If you thought you were insulted or offended, but you are not completely sure what happened, take a pause and think carefully about the situation before starting a quarrel. Often , unpleasant wording is not at all a cunning way to offend you, but just an incorrect choice of words. Try not to turn into a provocateur and stay professional.

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