Workplace Drama and the High Costs Associated with Managing It

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workplace drama

Workplace Drama and the High Costs Associated with Managing It

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Ask anyone in middle management or a front line supervisor about workplace distractions and you’re likely to hear about the drama. In what ways is negative and harmful workplace drama costing your organization?

Often front line staff view drama as just a part of their workday. In fact, some of them might be directly responsible for its existence. As a society we might get entertainment value from drama, in the workplace it often isn’t much different.

Management often chooses to ignore drama. It is true that sometimes ignoring it will help it to go away. If the drama doesn’t get any attention, if no one reacts, it might fizzle to nothing. In other cases, it might get louder.

Workplace Drama

What is drama costing your organization? Here are five of many problematic outcomes of workplace drama:

  1. Absenteeism and turnover. Certainly, drama easily connects here. Often someone is the aggressor, which might mean someone else is the victim. No news here, it causes absenteeism and turnover.
  2. Sabotage. Unfortunately, as the drama or conflict escalates so do the consequences. Unfortunately, employees may decide to sabotage another’s work or effort. In some cases, retaliation might be against the entire organization. Extreme drama might also invite theft or other ethical challenges.
  3. Reduced efficiency. When employees become more interested or more focused on the drama it is at the expense of productivity. Water cooler chats might increase and become unproductive. So might texting, emailing, and strategizing for the next (non-business) moves.
  4. Customers and clients. Nothing that takes energy away from serving the customer is probably going to end well. The ill effects of internal drama always affect the customer. In some of the worst cases the drama becomes about the customer. A loss most businesses can’t afford.
  5. Reputation and growth. Most organizations aren’t designed to plateau, the plan is for growth. While all the drama is taking its toll on the energy and excitement of progress, the organization becomes stuck or stalled. Worse, it might begin to decline.

Avoid the Costs

Drama might be entertainment in the movies or on reality television. Workplace drama likely has a cost that you want to avoid.

How your organization defines itself is based on culture. Culture is based on the ideologies and behaviors of its people and the decisions that are made.

Drama is a choice.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+

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