From Drama to Harmony: Why Creating a Drama-Free Workplace is Your Next Important Leadership Step

conflict resolution leadership workplace drama Jul 20, 2023

Did you know that employees spend up to 2.8 hours a week involved in some type of conflict in the workplace? That is actual conflict. The data not included in this statistic is the amount of time an individual carries that conflict with them in other parts of their job and personal life. The actual conflict is the tip of the iceberg. 

According to PCC, 60% of employees never receive basic conflict management training. Of those who did receive training, 95% stated they were better able to manage conflict.

Workplace conflict and drama is a serious issue that cannot be overlooked. Unchecked, it can lead to workplace violence, loss of amazing employees and loss of potential leaders.

Here is Elaine’s story:

Elaine was a brand-new administrator with immense potential. She LOVED serving older people through her work and hoped to start her own retirement community one day. The first few months were a dream. Her job seemed to get better every day until the honeymoon was over and the conflict started to take over her life. She was managing conflict from resident families, hands on caregivers that couldn’t get along, and her management team that didn’t trust each other.

As much as she wanted to solve their problems, she couldn’t because she didn’t know how to manage conflict. Conflict Management isn’t taught in college or really in any formal educational setting. She didn’t know how to get the training so she continued to manage on her own until it overwhelmed her. Her boss wasn’t tuned into her needs and didn’t get her the help she needed despite her repeated requests. After about 5 years ultimately quit her job and moved into a different industry.  

There are many things that could have helped Elaine, but conflict was all around her and she didn’t know how to manage it. In fact, if her boss had just taken time to get to know her better and provide the appropriate support and training, she might still be in our field today.

You can get conflict management training in a lot of different places online these days for free. I recommend it be included in supervisory training and leadership training as foundations of management.

Here is the thing – if you are reading this, you are likely an extremely busy executive dealing with conflict in the workplace right now. You can actually help your team manage their own conflict through training and leading by example. Don’t wait for time to breathe to implement it because you won’t find it. You can create time to breathe by dealing with it now. Systemize conflict management so you and your team can focus on why you are there – to serve older people.

Here are some things you can do to manage workplace drama:

Foster a Positive and Supportive Culture
Create a workplace culture that promotes open communication, respect, and empathy. Encourage employees to support each other and work collaboratively. Recognize and celebrate achievements and contributions, fostering a positive atmosphere that discourages gossip and negative behaviors.

Establish Clear Communication Channels
Miscommunication often fuels drama. Ensure that there are clear and effective communication channels in place. Encourage direct and honest communication between team members, supervisors, and subordinates. Implement regular team meetings and one-on-one sessions to address concerns, provide feedback, and keep everyone informed about important matters. 

Provide Conflict Resolution Training
Conflict is a natural part of any workplace, but how it's managed can make a significant difference. Offer conflict resolution training to employees and supervisors, helping them develop effective communication skills and strategies for resolving conflicts constructively. This training can enable team members to address issues early on and prevent them from escalating into full-blown drama.

Lead by Example
Leadership plays a crucial role in setting the tone for the workplace. Managers and supervisors should lead by example, displaying professionalism, fairness, and respect in their interactions. Address any incidents of drama promptly and impartially, reinforcing the organization's commitment to a drama-free workplace.

Establish Clear Policies and Procedures
Implement and enforce clear workplace policies and procedures that outline expected behavior and consequences for inappropriate actions. This can include policies on harassment, bullying, gossip, and other behaviors that contribute to workplace drama. By having these policies in place, employees will have a clear understanding of what is expected of them and the consequences of engaging in drama-inducing behaviors.

Need more help? Let me know at [email protected] and we can talk through how to manage workplace drama together.

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