You’d think that all the gossiping and trash-talking stops once you hit a certain age, but like with the rest of the expectations that we have early in life, this one never really seems to match reality. People tend to gossip and cause drama for many different reasons – low self-esteem, affinities for popularity or nothing but pure boredom – but the fact is they do it. Just because drama is in the human nature, that doesn’t mean that you should allow it in your office; there are certain precautions that should be taken.
1. Remember High School is Over
People find it difficult to deal with this fact, especially if they were popular in high school. This is a system they know and love, and why shouldn’t they try to continue establishing it if they don’t encounter any resistance? This hierarchy isn’t at all difficult to spot – classical mean girls, the cool kids, neglected or bullied nerds, predominant athletes – everyone’s familiar with these clichés. Now, you need to play your role right by not indulging or accepting these groups. To achieve this you need to always make them work in different teams; this way they will be forced to get to know each other and work together.
2. Establish Anger Management Methods
Causes of frustration and anxiety are things everyone should leave outside the office. In an ideal world, you’d have enough time to devote yourself to every one of your employees and help them deal with their issues. Bullying and mistreating people in your office can often be a simple outlet for built-up stress, which is why you need to have proper ways to deal with it. First of all, everyone needs to be familiar with basic etiquette – if one decides not to follow the common rules, you need to have previously established methods of dealing with them, and everyone must suffer the same consequences for these kinds of actions.
3. Work on Your Team Building Activities
If you want a team, you need to build one. Members of a strong team need to eat together, work together and play together. Depending on the area of your expertise, all of you probably have more than one thing in common – you just need to find it. Once you establish which activities you can enjoy together, the only thing left is to pick a date. You should also know that hard-working employees need to feel appreciated, so a nurturing gift basket with a relaxing effect is something you should treat them with every now and then.
4. Don’t Run from Confrontations
Built-up tension simply can’t be good for business. It’s completely normal for people to have conflicts when they interact, but it’s not healthy for those conflicts to be left unresolved. As a team leader or a simple observer you should encourage both conflicted parties to sit down and talk things out, which is the adult, mature and a responsible way to deal with this kind of situation.
5. Invest into a Stress Free Room
Every office needs to provide a safe, calm environment for all employees. Considering the fact that not all workplaces can be silent and crowd free – depending on the job description, naturally – the obvious solution is to introduce a stress-free space to your business. Ideally, this space should be a source of fresh air, lots of plants and calming colors, a sort of Zen garden if you will, but you should work with what you have. For starters, a corner with fresh flowers and a water machine will do!
6. If You Look for Drama, You Will Find It
All jobs become a bit dull at some point, which is why people tend to look for practically anything to break that monotony. No matter if they do it subconsciously or not, you should draw their attention to this phenomenon, so that everyone can do their best to avoid it. However, a team leader needs to know when to intervene and when to stay out – treating them like children will only justify them behaving like children. Besides, a bit of healthy competition and a certain amount of appropriate humor should be welcomed.
7. Encourage Focusing on the Positive
Instead of wasting time on trash-talking and gossiping, you need to all transfer your focus onto growth and development. All that time and energy invested into finding out who said what to whom could be put to better use. You should do your best to preoccupy them with various courses, seminars, and other means of improvement. By working on their individual development, you’ll definitely speedup the progress you’re making as a team.
This might be a lot to take in at once but if you introduce each of these methods slowly, one by one, I’m sure you’ll be able to notice changes sooner than you think. If one of them seems inefficient, you should move on to the next one – these are the people you work with everyday, and they usually don’t appreciate being forced into anything. Take things slow, and you’ll be able to get rid of that unnecessary drama in your office.