Workplace drama makes for a very tense environment.
From rumor mills to office cliques, many of us have experienced this often-uncomfortable situation. Here are a few ways to avoid being the cause of it, as well as how to handle it when someone else is responsible.
1. You’re confronted by a co-worker who says someone told her that Suzy said you will never move up in the company because you are lazy and don’t know how to do your job.
Solution: Ignore or take action. If you feel the need to address what’s been said, go to the source. If you don’t feel comfortable going to the source, contact a supervisor or mediator. Request a meeting to professionally discuss your feelings and concerns. It is imperative to take action as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the higher the potential for increased tension and animosity.
2. Suzy and Jim always have the latest gossip. Not only do they want to let you in on the office dirt, but they also want your opinions. When they are not talking about others, they complain about how awful the workplace is.
Solution: Stay away from people who are part of the rumor mill or always have a negative attitude. You never want to be guilty by association and accused of playing a part in a workplace rumor. You also want to avoid those with negative attitudes. If your coworker is always talking about how long the work week is, how bad the supervisor is, or how coworkers don’t pull their load, their negativity just may rub off on you.
3. Jim thinks you are not pulling your weight. He feels that his workload is heavier and he is frustrated and angry. As a result, he lashes out at you.
Solution: Don’t respond immediately and add to the chaos. If confronted by an angry or upset coworker, take time to evaluate the circumstances before responding. It is important to allow the shock to wear off and to respond professionally and appropriately. My general rule is to respond the same way you would if your supervisor was present. Be an active listener, allow the individual to vent, and remain respectful. When it is your turn to respond, remain calm and positive.