Workplace Drama

How often does your staff create distractions with an avalanche of finger-pointing and accusations? “He said” this and “she did” that and “I don’t know anything about this” are expressions that pop up.

If you hear these types of phrases occasionally, it’s normal and controllable. But if these expressions occur regularly or increasingly over time, you may be a party to workplace drama.

It’s up to the leader to quell this behavior before it goes out of control, because frequency is bad for your organization’s health. Often, the right hand doesn’t know what the left is saying or doing; and that is where the problems begin.

When this goes unchecked, trust decreases, gossip increases, and, of course, productivity plummets. The cost of the lost productivity is huge, and over time, takes a major toll.

It’s important to realize that the subject of this workplace drama is often not what the bickering or finger-pointing is about. The outward conversation may be symptomatic of something deeper and potentially more damaging.

Good leaders know how to ask the right questions and get to the heart of the issue. After doing this, they may need to referee, mediate, or otherwise interfere to stop the drama. At times this can be painful, but it’s much more painful than doing nothing.

If leaders are ignorant about internal strife, then they’re not doing an important part of their job, which is to walk around and take the pulse and temperature of their staff. It’s your job to do this; you’re not supposed to stay in your office with the door closed and assume that everything is going well.

This is much more than “management by walking around.” It involves concentrated powers of observation and a willingness to discover and deal with something that may not be so pleasant.

Has drama crept into your company? If it’s slipping into your culture, you know what you need to do.

“Before you start pointing fingers, make sure your hands are clean.”
– Bob Marley

Header image by Klaus Nielsen/

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