We have all known people who have a flair for the dramatic. Some of them end up in Hollywood, while others might end up in our workplaces. The gossip, petty arguments, political maneuvering, and other extracurricular activities of these dramatists have nothing to do with creating value in the marketplace. Depending on your personality and proclivities, you might have no problem avoiding such office place dramatics. That said, it never hurts to carefully think about how to position yourself professionally in the midst of office place drama:
- Stay above the fray – Make a decision to simply go to your desk and not participate in the drama. If coworkers are gossiping about one another, cutting down the boss, or complaining about the latest item of discontent, demonstrate by your actions that you don’t participate in such antics.
- Don’t gawk – It’s human nature to enjoy a good drama. But if fellow employees are putting on a show, don’t stick around to watch. Find something productive to do that will build up the organization.
- Contribute professionally – Sometimes it is hard to draw a fine line between office drama and legitimate matters that need handled. Sometimes the dramatists themselves need to be brought into line, which requires professional handling. If you are in a supervisory or HR role, you have to deal with drama as part of your job. The key is to do this professionally while, again, staying above the fray.
- Be warm and personal but not dramatic – We’re not recommending being dour. Develop a reputation for being approachable. But position yourself as a professional, not a dramatist.
- Bring calmness and stability to the office place – Some people bring constant commotion to their surroundings. Others tend to calm down everyone. It takes all types to have an effective team. Regardless of our natural tendencies, the best approach is to actively discern what is needed. When everyone is riled up, it is best to have a calming presence. Be steady and dependable, someone who can be relied upon to perform well under pressure.
Unless your career path leads toward Hollywood, you are unlikely to gain any professional advancement by being a dramatist. Position yourself as a leader who can resist the clever attempts of coworkers to drag you into the fray.