One challenging dilemma all leaders must face is how to deal with inter-office drama. It is always a difficult situation to decide when to get involved, or when to ignore the chatter. Even the biggest introverts will find a time when they can no longer avoid the gossip and drama that surrounds them. Office politics can engulf a workforce and be a cancerous detriment to productivity.
Unfortunately for me, I work in a field in which complaints, drama, and infighting runs rabid. In education we often beg for respect, but the lack of professionalism between peers and administrators is a common occurrence in most schools. Conflict between both groups have had a drastic impact on our productivity, and has been a serious plague to staff morale.
When I first began my career in education, I would dive deep within the hallway drama, and listen or share as much gossip as possible. If I look back to those times, I get annoyed with myself thinking about how many hours I wasted chatting away on such unimportant topics. This professional soap opera did nothing to improve my performance, and only created barriers between my coworkers and I. Lines would be drawn, and sides would be picked on all the problems at my school. Petty disagreements and bickering would always grow into what seemed like major issues, resulting in hurt feelings and grudges held against one another.
It took me two years to finally decide that the inter-office drama was not worth it any longer. I would like to credit myself with an act of maturity, and choosing to be the better person, but it wouldn’t be truthful. My withdrawal from school politics was mainly an act of surrender. I was mentally and emotionally exhausted from it, and I finally tired of getting singed from burning so many bridges. Work was hard enough, and adding this extra stress to my plate was insane!
Sometimes in life you have to learn lessons the hard way, and I certainly did in this case. I have excused myself from office politics, and I have found it much pleasurable to go to work over the past few years. I am enjoying working my co-workers, and I have been able to not get stressed over matters that do not involve me. Are problems still happening, and gossip still spreading? Possibly, I wouldn’t know. I have just enjoyed dealing with my coworkers as pleasantly as possible, and I have been happier because of it.
Surround yourself with POSITIVE people, avoid the drama, and create some space!