Avoiding Office Drama

Some people are prone to stirring the pot. How to keep emotions in check.
Avoiding Office Drama
Image: banspy / Flickr

We all know that one person—male or female—"drama queen (or king)." I'm talking about those who tend to react to situations over-emotionally. They may be prone to exaggeration or confrontation and tend to be always worked up about something. And when they're worked up, they want you to be worked up too. Even if you don't have a particular "drama queen" in your office, there are times when seemingly even­tempered colleagues will suffer from high-drama moments.

And let me tell you, drama is just not my thing. Especially not at work. Balancing family, faith, and career means that when I'm working, I want to be efficient and effective with my time. I need to get things done, not get bogged down in conflict.

So when it comes to office politics or gossip, I try to stay out of it as much as possible. But there are some types of drama (and some people) that you can't ignore or avoid.

So how do you deal with office drama in a way that's effective and efficient?

Start with empathy.

You may be tempted—as I often am—to roll your eyes and just dismiss the person who has burst into your office or cubical to whisper­shout their feelings about something.

Remember, it takes all types of people to make a team work, even those who bring a little extra drama. And every time you interact with someone at work, you are, in a way, representing Christ to them. Fear and insecurity is what drives a lot of drama­queen type behavior. If you greet drama with overt annoyance or disdain, you only reinforce that underlying insecurity. Not only does that fail to represent Christ well, it also tends to escalate the drama you're trying to avoid.

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Diane Paddison

Diane Paddison is a business professional and founder of 4wordwomen.org, local groups of professional working women committed to faith, family, work, and each other.

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