March '20

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14 THE SHOP MARCH 2020 F rom time to time, most of us have experienced or even contributed to workplace drama. It can take many different forms—people gossip, spread rumors, complain, lash out emotionally, rant about a perceived wrong, purposely exclude others, take sides in conflicts and so forth. No matter how drama manifests itself, it can be a highly destructive force inside a company. Drama contributes to a less professional workplace. It creates bad feelings and lowers morale. It keeps people from being able to work together effectively. It tears teams apart. It hurts productivity. Ultimately, it creates the kind of culture that drives away high performers and keeps you from attracting great talent. Those who create workplace drama aren't always doing it intentionally. It can be driven by insecurity, fear or other undealt-with emotional issues. But, most often, it stems from people not knowing how to handle conflict or have tough conversations. Whatever the reasons, great leaders take a zero-tolerance stance against drama. Their behavior and their words let employees know they value a drama-free environment where people cultivate healthy, respectful, collaborative adult relationships. Here are a few tips for shutting down drama in your organization: Model the behavior you want to see. Don't participate in drama yourself. Don't gossip or badmouth anyone. Strive to always be aboveboard, fair, respectful and positive. Be really careful about even small things—for example, copying someone you don't need to copy on a sensitive email. Never stop examining your own motives and hold yourself to the highest standard. The leader always sets the tone for work- place behavior. If it's OK for you to do it, employees assume it's OK for them. Be aware of the messages you're sending. Have a system for managing conflict. Train employees on how situations should be resolved and give them specific steps for getting there. In many cases, they may not realize how harmful their actions are. With just a little training and expecta- tion-setting, you can eliminate many of the problems. Tips for keeping the peace at your company. By Quint Studer SHUTTING DOWN WORKPLACE DRAMA No matter how drama manifests itself, it can be a highly destructive force inside a company.

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