Is Workplace Drama Hurting Your Team?

If you’ve ever worked in a team where high drama was the norm, you know how unpleasant it is. By high drama, I don’t mean the occasional heated disagreement between colleagues, a surprise resignation of a superstar employee or the unexpected demand that throws a team into fire-fighting mode.

There will always be frustrating or unpredictable work situations we have to deal with. But operating in a persistent state of dysfunction and drama sucks the life out of a team. It’s stressful and bad for business.

Common Behaviors That Point To A High Drama Work Environment

  1. Workplace gossip and rumors
  2. Lack of accountability, but plenty of finger-pointing
  3. Unhealthy cliques and factions
  4. Poor conflict management skills
  5. Team members hold back their ideas and opinions out of fear of backlash
  6. A leader who takes sides, won’t address or makes excuses for the drama
  7. High turnover

If not addressed, a high drama environment will spiral into a toxic workplace which burdens an organization with all sorts of unwanted costs.

Address the Drama Before It’s Too Late

If you find yourself in the middle of a high-drama team:

  • Don’t engage or encourage the behavior. It’s easy to get pulled in.
  • Model good communication and conversational intelligence. Tell people what you observe and how it is impacting the team and business results.
  • Offer ground rules to manage conflict in a healthy way.
  •  Help your leader rebuild team trust

Leave the drama to Hollywood. Don’t let it get in the way of your individual and team success.

Marta Steele is a Partner at PeopleResults. Connect with her on Twitter @MartaSteele.

Marta Steele