Wednesday, March 14, 2018

When There's Drama in the Workplace

Quote courtesy of Brainy Quote
Being in a workplace where the majority of employees is women, there's bound to be some drama. I hate to say it, but you know it's true. Women (and some men) can be relentless. It definitely makes for a stressful situation.  As school-based SLPs, we have to work with everyone in the building, from the teachers to the custodians and everyone in between. How do you continue to do the best job while steering clear of the drama?

1. Keep to yourself.

That's easier said than done. I know that for a fact. Most of us are very social and we want to feel as if we belong. When there's a lot of drama in one of my schools I make every effort to just do my job while still being visible. There's a very fine line between knowing what's going on and getting sucked into the drama. Know when to step back and fade into the background. Sure, it may take trial and error and you may find yourself in the thick of it. Learn from it and don't get sucked in again. People will be more likely to forgive if it happens once, but if it happens time after time you're going to be labeled. 

2. Be honest.

When a co-worker comes up to you and starts rattling off something that another co-worker did, stand up and say (in a nice way) you don't care to hear about it. Remember, we have to work with everybody. It makes my job a lot easier when I get along with everyone, especially when it comes to scheduling!

3. Change the subject.

There are times when I have something in my lunch that has to be heated up, so I will stay in the "lounge" and eat with other teachers. That's a perfect time to find out what's going on in the school, but it's also a perfect time to get sucked into the drama. If it starts heading down the drama route, change the subject. (Or, if you really want to know what's going on, just sit quietly!) 

4. Be careful.

We all know that gossip can ruin one's reputation. In education, that equals occupational death. Turn the tables: how would you like if someone created all that drama and you were the target?

My friend Annie from Doyle Speech Works had these additional suggestions:

5. Be careful of collusion.

Watch out for those coworkers who will try to "win you over" and get you "on their side" to the detriment of another coworker. When it's all said and done, no one is going to win!

6.  Don't take things personally.

Everyone is looking out for number 1. In the end, you need to watch your own back.

7. You don't have to be right all the time.

This piggybacks on the suggestion that everyone has their own opinion. They may not be true facts, but opinions. Everyone thinks they're right. It's okay to back off and say that you see where the other person is coming from. The trick is to know when to say it.

Drama can dramatically (ha, ha) change the morale of the faculty & staff. It makes a huge difference in the attitudes of the school employees. Believe me, it's much better to be able to say you don't know what's going on than to indulge in the drama and gossip. Stick to your guns and your beliefs, and remember to be professional. You were hired to do a job, so get in there and do it, and keep the drama out.

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