My two-cents on dealing with Drama at Work
The workplace has its own set of cliques, gossipers and Debbie-downers who raise tension. It is vital for you as an employee to remain: 1. Objective and 2. Professional- elements that are quite difficult to maintain, especially for new comers trying to fit in.
I’ve categorised and nicknamed 5 groups of negative people, their characteristics and how to deal with their unprofessionalism.
1. The Gossip Mongers
These are people who just can’t stop talking about things that do not concern them. Gossip Mongers are the type to unnecessarily offer you information on how the boss’ secretary messed up by mismanaging his schedule or how someone placed the wrong order to the supplier, or worse: who’s in a relationship with who.
Solution: The easiest way around is to avoid the Gossip Monger. However, as a professional, you cannot run and hide from every negative aspect in your organisation. So just face them. When presented with gossip, try to ask for the facts, objectively. Ask questions that determine whether or not the source is credible; or better yet, ask them if that piece of information betters their workflow.
Psychologically, a person who gossips is fuelled by negative, and biased obsessions. Asking objective questions will not only spoil the gist but make them weary of ever presenting such information to you again. Try this in your personal life as well- it’s a great way to repeal negativity.
2. The Bad News Lovers
Bad news lovers are no different from Gossip Mongers. They thrive on the failure of others and wait patiently for someone to make a mistake. They’re the type to crush your ideas in the boardroom and roll their eyes once the boss implements your strategy. Moreover, they will prey on your downfall while talking behind your back- especially to the newbies (recruiting gossip minions is what keeps them going).
Solution: Don’t ever reveal your next move to a bad news lover. Don’t fuel their gig by giving them attention of any sort. Doing this will revert their pettiness toward someone else. And after all, everyone makes mistakes right? So what if your idea did not go according to plan? Let them rejoice while you go back to the drawing board and re-strategize with something better.
3. The Attention Seekers
These are just the worst. Just reading this title makes one roll their eyes. Everyone has encountered an attention seeker in his or her life. The type of people that will cause commotion because of a broken nail; or would find it necessary to announce to the entire office that they have more of a workload than anyone else. They just need attention to survive.
Solution: Simple: pay them no mind. They need attention to survive so cut off their supply and they will feed on someone else’s interest in their irrelevant affairs. And if they get in your face, don’t make the mistake of lashing out or rolling your eyes in their faces.
4. The Unrealistic Victim
Here’s another eye-roller: The Unrealistic Victim. People who think that everyone is out to get them. They’ll blame you for not having developed the right artwork (even though you’re in the finance department). In fact, when they don’t do something right, they’ll attract a “pity-party” (group of co-workers who are easily manipulated by crocodile tears) to defend their wrongdoings.
Solution: If you find yourself manipulated and recruited into the pity-party, ask The Unrealistic Victim what it is they could have done to avoid the situation in the first place. If you can, objectively help them to tackle the situation at hand. Make sure you do not create an environment where this individual gets attached to you, as they will dub you their problem solver. Love them from a distance.
5. The Bulldozer
Bulldozers are the worst type of colleagues. A bulldozer is a moving machine equipped with a metal plate that is used to push large quantities aside. In an office setting, a bulldozer will paint you in a bad light just so the client picks them over you. They’re specialists knocking others down just so they get what they want. After their success, you’ll be left with your jaw on the ground, hopeless.
Solution: Spot the bulldozer. This is a hard task as most of them wear masks. Pay attention to individuals who are particularly interested in your next move, and who unnecessarily encourage your next move. If you suspect someone of being a bulldozer, confirm this by analysing their portfolio step by step- see if they’ve knocked anyone over.
Once you’ve spotted a bulldozer, make sure you document all your conversations (even if they request for paper, ask them to send you an email) to avoid strategy or idea theft. Documenting your interactions means your name will not be forgotten in any projects they claim to own.
Be weary of your interactions with others as this individual gathers info about you from credible office sources.
And if they do copy your idea, make sure it is something they wont be able to sustain for long as this will unmask their true colours.