“Don’t tell me what they say about me.
Tell me why they feel comfortable telling you.”
To review Act 1, we defined workplace drama as gossip, finger-pointing, whining, bickering and more.
You may be savoring a business which is not infected with the rot of workplace drama. If so, congratulations. Keep up the good work.
Some of you, though, fight the fires of discontent daily. You spend an inordinate amount of time dealing with drama in all its insidious forms. It kills the productivity and potential of the entire company, and sends you home drained. And, any “A Players” you were lucky enough to hire? They’re out of Dodge on the first available train.
Sound like your workplace? If so, go back to read and implement the recommendations from Act 1. That will put the foundations in place for curing this plague.
Then read on for ways to wade directly into the fray and wage combat wh your Nattering Nay-Bobs.
Circle the troops. Look ‘em in the eye. Tell them that you ask for and expect everyone’s full support for a new start. All the drama and nonsense stops today! Be firm.
Then, go over your new rules. Make them crystal clear and non-negotiable. Here’s a list to jump-start your thinking:
- Treat everyone the way you’d like to be treated OR the way THEY want to be treated … whichever is better.
- Attack the problem, not the person.
- Don’t say anything about a person you wouldn’t say in their presence.
- Zero tolerance for drama, talking behind someone’s back, etc. If someone tries to engage you in such a discussion, refuse to participate. If they have a problem with someone, tell them to discuss it directly with that person, take it to their supervisor or to the other person’s supervisor. If you listen to the drama you’re just as guilty as the person spewing it.
- When we’re in a meeting and we ask if there are any questions or comments, we REALLY do want your feedback. If you’re unwilling to share your comments in the meeting, then get with your manager afterward. If you’re still unwilling to speak up, you lose the right to complain back in the workplace. If someone complains about a topic we just covered in a meeting, don’t listen. Tell ‘em to take it to management.
Whenever there’s a flare-up, deal with it swiftly. Speak with the offender directly. Don’t set up more rules or punish everyone because of one person’s actions.
Be willing to have this conversation: “Despite our best efforts, you continue to be unhappy here. Maybe we should help you transition to a place of employment that you find more acceptable.”
Warning: If you establish “zero tolerance” and then turn your head the other way, you’ll lose your credibility. Be prepared to enforce it!
Next time, we’ll talk about keeping score. Assigning accountability for numbers eliminates much workplace drama. This is just one of the ways GGOB really shines in helping you craft a winning culture.