The truth about workplace drama and how it impacts you.
Daily interactions with people at work seem almost insignificant. Yet every time we interact with a coworker, boss, or customer we are creating an environment that is either cohesive or adversarial. You’ve seen it happen, suddenly two people who were working together with no problem can no longer get along. Initially, it seems like it will have little effect on overall operations. It may have started with a sideways glance or vicious remark. Now its escalated to the point where the two people aren’t speaking to each other. And it’s costly.
According to a 2008 study on workplace conflict commissioned by CPP Inc.–publishers of the Myers-Briggs Assessment and the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument – employees spend 2.8 hours each week dealing with conflict. This could include things like backbiting, gossiping, retaliating, and choosing sides. Here is another way to calculate the cost. Based on an average hourly wage of $17.95 the cost of workplace drama amounts to approximately $359 billion in paid hours or the equivalent of 385 million working days. Plus, there is an impact on morale, attendance, and turnover. The CPP Inc. study found 25 percent of employees said that avoiding conflict led to sickness or absence from work. Equally shocking, nearly 10 percent reported that workplace conflict led to project failure and more than one-third said that conflict resulted in someone quitting or being fired.
People who lead teams that are embroiled in workplace drama often wonder what to do, and most of the time they do nothing. They ignore the situation and hope it will resolve itself. Instead of overlooking the problem, address it. The minute you get wind that communication has stopped, enlist the services of a professional coach to bring the parties together and resolve out the issue. Avoid the temptation to be the intermediary and broker a peace treaty. Typically, when the boss interviews each person separately to determine the problem and find a solution it is perceived as taking sides. Each person will wonder what the other said in the meeting with the boss. Better to select someone outside your organization to help you bring the parties together and seek a solution.
In addition, avoid hiring a consultant to lead a conflict management training. Over the years I’ve learned when two people are creating drama and causing chaos, training is not the answer. An individual’s behavior cannot be effectively addressed in a group setting.
If you are experiencing workplace drama, let’s talk. Schedule a 30-minute consultation with me by clicking on the link to my calendar. No cost or obligation on your part. Think how good it will feel to have a plan of action to put an end to the drama.