Workplace drama affects almost everyone in the workplace. Even if you try your best to avoid tension, the social aspect of work will make it extremely difficult to not be affected. The best way to handle workplace drama is to learn how to navigate the challenging personalities and behaviors that you have to work with. These negative coworkers may use rumors, exclusions, condescending behaviors, or just bring out the worst in you through their negative energy. In order to move forward and not be negatively affected by these events (through some form of retaliation), here are some tips you can follow the next time you feel tested by a negative personality.
Superior Illusion Personality
The superior illusion is the belief that one person ‘is better’, in anyway, than another person. Human beings all have intrinsic equal worth, regardless of their wealth or status in a company. The next time you work with someone who acts like they are above you in anyway, and makes you feel not intelligent or as important, make it a point to keep your distance. Be mindful of any negative self-talk when you work with this person, as in, don’t take what they do or say personal.
Indirectly Speaking Personality
This person may make comments or put your work ethic into question in front of you, without speaking directly to you. While in the same room, they may question others why you were assigned to a project or team without directly speaking to you. Directly speak with this coworker kindly and with respect. Understand that this co-worker is insecure or feels threatened by you. Be the more professional employee and ask them if you’ve offended them in some way or provide accurate reasons (without boasting) as to why you were included on a project.
This personality may be friendly but may have the tendency to gossip. If you know that you are the topic of gossip and you know who has been gossiping about you, you have two options. The first thing you must do is to put space and time between the moment you realize you’ve been gossiped about and your follow up action. Once you feel calm, you can choose to confront this person by saying “I understand work has been stressful lately and office gossip happens, but if you have a problem with me, I prefer it if you directly discuss this problem with me.” The other option is to avoid any type of relation with this person, do not talk about your personal life with them as they tend to gossip.
These three personalities can be found in any workplace. The best way to react to these coworkers is through keeping distance, respectful and direct conversations to work through the issues if you are okay with confrontation and trusting your gut as well as not discounting your intuition when red flags are thrown through daily interactions. Do not try to retaliate by doing onto them what they did to you. Do be respectful an