Drama is to work, what salt is to the American diet. It’s an active ingredient, whether you want it or not. Here are 5 cool ideas for managing drama:
1. Busy employees are focused employees.
Idle minds will find other ways to keep occupied. History is filled with examples of people getting things done at crunch time. Non-work distractions aren’t as prevalent when people have their noses to the grindstone. The challenge is to create an environment that’s at least a little fun. Keep them busy, but provide the occasional social activity.
2. Your good name still carries weight around there.
Your people are watching you all the time. Whether you admit it or not, they are assimilating your sense of style, your speech patterns and even your work ethic. Use this influence to your advantage. Simply refuse to partake in gossip and loose talk. Be a good role model.
3. Rather than try to eliminate office drama, have fun with it.
You can make sport of office drama without Dramacool sanctioning it. Instead of privately seething, publicly identify the Drama Kings and Queens. When appropriate, lightly tease them about how easily they are distracted from the important work of the day. You might nickname one or two workers after the characters from office sitcoms. Go easy on this technique to avoid harassment charges.
4. Deputize everyone.
For example, you might enlist a complainer’s help. Sometimes her complaints are legitimate. Ask for assistance so that together you can make the workplace better.
5. Some problems cannot be solved through diplomacy.
When all is said and done, you may have to lower the boom. Create a paper trail to document patterns of negative behavior and reduced productivity. Documentation will be necessary to take serious action later. Bring your HR department into the loop. Be sure employees are aware of your company’s “three strike program.” Most organizations follow a 1) verbal warning, 2) written warning and 3) termination format.
Michael Angelo Caruso has delivered over 2,000 keynote speeches and presentations on the subject of communication. He is President of the Edison House, a Detroit-based consulting and publishing company. Mr. Caruso is author of the books and the FastLearnerAudio series, which can help you become an even better perso