Tuesday, April 14, 2015

How to Successfully Deal With Workplace Drama

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Women are often subjected to all kinds of drama in the workplace.  If you work in a female-dominated field, there are often gossip wars.  If you work in a male-dominated field, your abilities are often questioned purely because of your sex.  No matter what kind of drama you're facing, you can come out of it on top, maintaining your professionalism and dignity.

Don't Gossip

When there's a lot of juicy activity going on in the office, it's easy to play into it.  But the easy thing to do is often not the right thing to do.  If the person you're confiding in is relaying "news" to you, odds are they won't be able to keep whatever you say to them between the two of you.  No matter how tempting it is to join in the chatter, keep your head down and stay out of it.  This not only protects you from your own words being used against you, but it also builds your reputation as a trustworthy person to both your co-workers and your boss.

These situations aren't always unique to female-dominated workplaces, and there are many female-dominated companies and workplaces that have a great work culture where this problem is not even an issue.

Address Situations Professionally, And Only the Ones That Need to Be Addressed

Sometimes when you don't participate in workplace gossip, you become the subject of it yourself.  No one likes someone who won't play ball, and the good habit may just make you the odd man out. In other cases your professional capabilities will be questioned based on your gender, or crude jokes will be made that wouldn't be if you were a man. 

That doesn't mean you should lower your standards of professionalism.  Ignore hurtful or slanderous things that others say about you unless they need to be immediately addressed.  When they do, do so with professionalism.  Don't lose your cool or blow up.  Remember that anything you say to a gossip will be twisted and marred until it's interesting enough of a story to retell.  Don't give them anything interesting from the get-go.

If it becomes a problem large enough to take into management, like harassment, do so.  But if it's not, reserve your time with your superiors for offering solutions to problems that concern business.  If you run to them every time someone says something about your hairstyle, you risk leaving the impression that you don't know how to work well with others.  

Don't Become Friends With the Entire Office

While it's not a crime to hit it off with a co-worker and build a friendship outside of work, problems can arise when the entire office socializes outside of business hours.  Lines between work and play start to blur, and something that happens in your social life can negatively impact your work environment.  It's okay to let loose after work hours, but it's not a smart idea to be doing so with the people you want to view you as a professional.

Be An Influence For Good

Working in hostile work environment can be draining to say the least.  But when you do your work, and do it well, avoiding all of the drama that can attempt to derail you, people are going to notice.  As you are noticed, you'll more than likely gain more responsibilities and promotions.  Use these new capabilities not to exact revenge, but to build the work environment you, and other professional women, would be happy to work in.



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