Why you get drawn into office drama


The sheer number of social media posts about the incident between Will Smith and Chris Rock at the Oscars is proof that it’s difficult to resist the pull of drama — especially when it’s not happening to you. As businesses begin to return to the office and conversations about water coolers become easier, office drama could intensify, especially after navigating the pandemic for the past two years.

“People need a break,” says Gilda Carle, corporate relations strategist. “The office drama is an attraction that satisfies the need for enlightenment. It’s especially exciting when the gossip is about people you know so well. You’ve been in each other’s living rooms for two years.”

Jennifer Edwards, co-author of Bridge the Gap: Breakthrough communication tools to transform work relationships from challenging to collaborative, says that we are social beings who learn by comparing and contrasting ourselves with others. “So when gossip and drama arise and we’re ‘invited’ to participate, our natural, biological inclination is to jump right into toxicity because it validates that we belong and our perspective is valued,” she says.

While not everyone is drawn to office drama, those who are may also find it a good way to combat understimulation or the everyday office environment, says Chicago-based psychologist David Rakofsky, president of the Wellington Counseling Group. “Many people in the workplace — at all levels of an organization — have minds that crave novelty, and the juicy intrigue of a bureaucracy can fill that need,” he says.

And being a spectator of the drama can calm your insecurities, adds Rakofsky, noting, “As spectators of the drama, rather than the subject of it, they may believe they are viewed by decision-makers as more stable, dependable collaborators worth having.” to be retained and better pay compared to the more conspicuous ‘troublemaker’.”

When we consciously or unconsciously compare ourselves to others, we show that we are better. “What’s really ineffective about this kind of engagement,” Edwards says, “is that it doesn’t build our identity around being trustworthy or reliable, because they’re resources for support and collaboration, and that’s bad for that.” Business.”

The Impact of Office Drama

It may seem harmless on the surface, but office drama can have wider implications. Drama can escalate to hurt people’s feelings and reputations, demotivate them, isolate them and even bring down a company, says Carle, noting, “So while it may start out as a healthy breather, it would be healthier to laugh With your colleagues rather than at the She. In the long run, you might save your own career with it.”

Office drama also negatively impacts a company’s ability to grow, scale, and attract talent, says Richard Hawkes, author of Navigate the vortex: 7 critical conversations for business transformation.

“Companies with executives who don’t take office drama seriously get into a state of inertia,” says Hawkes. “When people get caught up in office drama, it can be difficult for them to make decisions. There is always a turf war or a political challenge that you have to respond to.”

Managers must be willing to lead teams. “Organizations need to create a context in which leaders are accountable for their team’s performance,” says Hawkes. “That creates a context in the first place to solve problems. Without that, there is no basis to fix the behaviors that are preventing them from solving problems.”

Hawkes recommends conversations that involve activating purpose, driving focus, and shifting mindset. “It has to do with culture and leadership,” he says. “Leaving the drama behind is acknowledging a common purpose and focus and the mindset we need to engage with each other. Pick your problem, lean into the conversation and find out what happens.”

Ultimately, according to Hawkes, executives caught up in a drama or conflict situation have four choices. First, they must have the leadership courage to demand better behavior from themselves and others. “It’s leaning right into this stuff, and it’s the optimal choice,” he says.

The second option is to learn to depersonalize the situation and live with the stress. “[This] doesn’t usually work very well,” says Hawkes. “People pretend to do that and then they just implode.”

The third option is to leave the organization, leave the team and go elsewhere, which may depend on your involvement. And the fourth option is to become part of the problem and play along.

“The fourth choice needs to be discouraged,” says Hawkes. “The first, second and third are noble choices. It is absolutely noble to leave an organization when the situation cannot be resolved.” Why you get drawn into office drama


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