The workplace is full of daily tasks, tests and challenges. Whether dealing with difficult co-workers, clients, a stubborn boss or a resistant team, professionals at all levels must develop ways to cope with stress. In the midst of these challenges, it can be easy to look to other people as the reason or cause of problems.
But do you ever consider that maybe you could be the source of your own suffering? Yes, you. For some, this concept may be counterintuitive to how they view their situation—and that’s precisely the problem.
When the unexpected occurs, we may paint ourselves as the victim. But in doing so, we are wasting precious energy fighting our reality. Instead of accepting our circumstances for what they are and using our energy to move forward, innovate and problem-solve, we choose a more dramatic path that is completely avoidable.
The good news is that while we have the power to put ourselves into that position, we also have the power to remove ourselves from it. It all comes down to mindset and how we view the inevitable challenges that come our way. Will we be open to what’s happening and focus on what’s next, or will we allow it to drain us in the form of stress?
Here’s how to stop causing drama at work, improve your workplace and enjoy the peace that ensues:
Embrace reality to stop causing drama at work.
How long do you spend arguing with reality each day? Yes, we certainly have the right to express our frustrations, but will it actually make an impact?
For example, what if your management team enforced new processes to ensure better quality control measures and you didn’t agree? You could gossip with co-workers about how it will require more work or vent about why you believe it’s a waste of time, but will those efforts actually change anything? Are you adding value or just fueling the fire?
On the other hand, imagine a world in which you accepted your new circumstances and focused on how you could succeed within them. You would save yourself time and frustration, all while buying in wholeheartedly to the company’s changes and your new role. It’s a win for you both emotionally and professionally. So let’s stop the arguments with reality and, instead, use our energy to make a true difference.
Stop causing drama at work by silencing your story.
When faced with challenges, try to avoid panicking and jumping to conclusions that may or may not be true. Instead, focus on the facts of the situation by asking yourself questions such as, “What do I know for sure to be true in this situation?” or, “Without my story, what would I be doing to help?” Be sure you are reacting to what is actually happening rather than what you believe or think is happening. Once you are able to make that distinction, you can begin to see your circumstances through new eyes.
Focus on being happy, not right.
Choose to place your focus on finding happiness rather than on always being right to stop drama at work. To be right means that you are the judge of the world and you believe you know what is best no matter what. But if you are focused on being happy, you know that we must stop judging and start helping.
People and events will fall short of expectations and, at times, we may have to do more than our fair share. If you really want to find happiness, resist the urge to operate out of personal motive and do what you can for the greater good of the organization.
Remember, feeding into workplace drama is completely optional. At one point or another we will all face unexpected situations—the key is in how effectively we navigate them. Savvy employers know that the best team members are those who are, among other things, agile and adaptable. If you can exhibit those qualities and stop causing drama at work, you will go far—at work and in life.
This article was updated May 2023. Photo by Dusan Petkovic/Shutterstock
Cy Wakeman is a national keynote speaker, business consultant, New York Times best-selling author, blogger and trainer who has spent over 20 years cultivating a revolutionary, reality-based approach to leadership. For more on Cy, check out RealityBasedLeadership.com or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.