Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 8th 2014 Contents SBG18 COMMENTARY
SUNDAY BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt JUNE 8 • 2014
"Girl, you have too much drama going on
in your life."This is a statement we have
heard many times before and
will continue to hear. What is
drama, where does it come
from and what steps can be
implemented to stop work-
Marlene Chism, in her 2011 book entitled,
Stop Workplace Drama defines drama as "any
obstacle to your peace and prosperity." There-
fore, anything that causes problems in your
life, which disturbs your peace of mind and
success, is drama.
• Office romance that turned bad. Recently
I wrote about office romance, and showed
that it can be both good and bad. In a small
island such as T&T, it is difficult to keep this
a secret. As a result, it makes the workplace
very stressful and uncomfortable, and will
negatively affect productivity.
• Social media: We live in a world where
technology and smart phones are making it
easier to spread gossip. Irresponsibly engaging
on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other
social media platforms is perhaps the newest
self-defeating behaviour of the century. The
scary part about these actions is that once
you post it, it s very difficult to claim, "I didn t
say or do that," because somebody else prob-
ably took a screenshot of what you posted
before you were able to delete it. "Good news
travels fast, but bad news travels faster." There-
fore, you must act responsibly by not posting
or sharing anything on social media that you
would regret getting back to your employer.
• Not being a team player: Always focusing
only on what s important for your benefit is
not good. Every so often, push your goals to
the side and intentionally help someone else
with their goals. Supporting others (even in
the slightest way) will help you become known
as a selfless and caring co-worker.
• Gossiping: While you may be popular
among your colleagues because you have all
the juicy information and stories, you are one
of your boss biggest problems. Be mindful
about people who come to either talk about
someone or ask you for the inside scoop on
something. If this is happening often, then
you re gossiping too much. To improve this
behaviour, start sharing positive solutions
instead of problems with everyone.
• Holding grudges and back stabbing: At
some point in your career, someone is probably
going to do or say something that is offensive.
Holding on to a grudge can lead to revengeful
actions that can come back to haunt you.
Instead, you should forgive others so everyone
can move forward.
• Being too competitive: Striving for success
is good, but being too competitive in the
process can be harmful. Be aware that you do
not sabotage someone else s career for your
sake of advancement.
• Being arrogant: Although you may know
your stuff, being overconfident about your
skills and accomplishments will only hinder
you growth. Consequently, some people will
have no desire to work or associate themselves
with you. It is to display confidence, but do
it within reason.
• Blaming others for your mistakes: No one
is perfect and at some point everyone makes
mistakes. However, you must take responsibility
and own up to your faults. Blaming others
will only create tension, but by accepting
accountability, you can grow and move on
from that experience.
• Negative attitudes: Negative people are
often some of the most unfulfilled people at
work due to their outlook on the work envi-
ronment. They tend to stay stuck in the past
and unwilling to change their mind-set. If you
are always negative, chances are that you will
attract a lot of negative results. But when you
shift to adopting a positive attitude, you will
have a better chance at advancing and expe-
riencing lower levels of stress.
• Never giving others credit: Oftentimes,
accomplishments are achieved with the support
of a team. Therefore, individuals who want
to take all the credit for a job well done without
recognising the effort by the team can cause
drama. To avoid this, the next time you accom-
plish a goal, thank those who helped make it
happen. Giving praise will help you stand out
as an appreciative team player.
Be proactive in
managing workplace drama:
• Set policy: One of the most effective ways
to end drama in the workplace is to catch it
early before it gets out of hand. Consider
adding an appendix to your employee hand-
book, which defines office drama and outlines
the company s policy for handling it.
• Clarification of roles: When staff are
uncertain or not clear about their roles and
responsibilities in the workplace, there will be
drama. If there are no job descriptions in place,
develop them as soon as possible. Job descrip-
tions should indicate who reports to whom,
what major tasks are associated with each
position and the type of authority and deci-
sion-making capability each position holds.
Job descriptions should be made public so
everyone is aware of what they entail.
• Prevent gossip: As soon as you start getting
reports of gossip making the rounds, put a
stop to it. If you can narrow the chit-chat
down to the key parties involved, couch them
individually and try to stop the spread of infor-
mation. If a rumour becomes widespread,
address it at a staff meeting or through internal
communications, reminding your employees
that gossip of a personal nature will not be
tolerated in the workplace.
• Limit the rumour mill: In T&T, we know
too well how rumours can spread and how it
affects us. In the office we are too eager to
share information about our colleagues and
issues in our offices. Details get leaked about
cutbacks, layoffs, demotions, new hires or
promotions, and people begin to talk. You can
halt the rumour mill by being upfront with
your employees about company news that
impacts them directly. Consult with your
immediate supervisor about what kinds of
corporate information can be released to
employees and try to provide forthright infor-
mation that will leave employees with nothing
to speculate about.
• Documentation: if you have repeat insti-
gators or drama queens in your office, doc-
ument their ongoing behaviour. Keeping proper
records will ensure that you follow proper
industrial relations practices in the event it
leads to suspension and/or dismissal.
• Dispute resolution: Mediation is one
method of proactively handling conflict
between people who create drama in the work-
place. This may involve letting each person
have his or her say and then clarifying the
company s position on the issue. If the super-
visor or manager does not have the authority
or skills set to mediate, refer the matter to the
human resources department.
• Enforce penalties: Enforce whatever penal-
ties you and your supervisors deem appropriate
to end drama in the workplace. If you have
a stated policy, have given offenders warnings
in the past and warned them about their
behaviour, it is time to take action. This is
where proper documentation kicks in. Con-
sequences to action can include but are not
limited to suspending or terminating employees
in extreme cases. This can serve as a warning
to other employees and help them to under-
stand that the company is serious about main-
taining a drama-free workplace.
• Consult experts: Consider inviting a work-
place coach to your business for a seminar on
creating a drama-free workplace. Employees
may be unaware of how their actions impact
others. An expert can give your employees
and colleagues the tools they need to help
prevent future drama.
If you want to stop the drama in your work-
place, you need to start by managing your
personal drama because without realising or
intending it to happen, it soon becomes pro-
I leave you with this quote from Eleanor
Roosevelt: "Great minds discuss ideas, average
minds discuss events, small minds discuss
people." Engage your mind wisely.
Nashroon Mohammed, BA (Hons), Dip
LC., CCC, CLTMC is a workplace coach and
mediator with the Mediation Board of T&T.
He is a member with International Coach
Federation (ICF) and Board Member of
Is there too
in your office?
Great minds discuss
ideas, average minds
discuss events, small
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