27 September 2023

Act One: How to bow out of office dramas

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Mandy Gilbert* sees drama in every workplace but has a script for avoiding the most dramatic outcomes.


In any workplace, there’s going to be some degree of drama–it can almost never be avoided.

For some, this plays out in the form of office cliques and cattiness.

For others, conflict arises between particular people or from decisions being made by the higher-ups.

No matter what kind of drama surrounds you in the workplace, I’ve found it’s always best just to stay out of it.

I realise this may seem like an impossible task, especially when you consider how quickly the drama can start.

Business conversations turn personal, feelings get hurt, and suddenly you’re dealing with the endless middle-school-style drama you thought you had escaped years ago.

So, how can you steer clear of the drama?

I’ve come up with three simple rules that will help you avoid the office gossip and stay focused on what actually matters: your work.

  1. Save the venting for outside the office.

This can be very challenging at times, but you have to resist the urge to talk about your co-workers or boss while you’re still in the office.

It might just seem like casual chit-chat to mention that someone didn’t meet her monthly sales goals, or so-and-so has been taking extra-long lunch breaks.

But believe me when I tell you, these seemingly innocent remarks somehow always manage to find their way back to the exact person you were talking about.

Remind yourself that venting about someone usually doesn’t solve the problem, it only ramps up the negativity.

It’s best to spare everyone the drama and focus your energy on conflict resolution, rather than fueling the fire.

  1. Attitude is everything.

A negative attitude in the workplace can spread like wildfire.

Everyone has to go to work, and we may not always love every minute of it, but it’s up to you to decide how to handle it.

No one wants to hear constant moaning and groaning about the workload or the leadership team.

It’s your choice whether you fall victim to complaining with your co-workers or walk to your desk with a sense of purpose and passion for your job.

I’ve had my fair share of bad days when it’s hard to feel motivated, but having the right attitude will help you stay immune to any potential drama around you.

  1. Stop overanalysing.

We have a tendency to be our own worst enemy at times. I know I’m guilty of it.

For example, after I finish a conversation, I’ll go back to my desk and immediately start mulling it over.

Do you know what I’ve learned?

That I usually end up misinterpreting someone’s tone or meaning completely.

Chances are, whatever your colleague or boss has said to you is exactly what they meant.

Overthinking that conversation by the water cooler or trying to break down what someone said word by word is never a good idea. It’s exhausting, stressful, and almost always a waste of time.

My advice? Stay drama-free and just let it go.

* Mandy Gilbert is the Founder of Creative Niche, Co-Founder of Red Academy and Columnist for Inc. She tweets at @verynichey and her website is creativeniche.com.

This article first appeared at www.inc.com

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