Drama Carriers: Do you know one?

Oh my, gosh!  The drama!

Every once in a while, we’ll be working with a team and they will proclaim their frustration with the ‘drama’ in their workplace. You know…people blaming others without knowing the whole story. Talking about how others are wrong and don’t get it. The back and forth emails that don’t resolve anything. Copying everyone in the world on emails to prove just how ‘right’ they are. Snide comments between co-workers.

What many people don’t recognize, though, is that while they are blaming others for the ‘drama,’ they are promoting or contributing to the drama at the same time! For example, a person receives an email from a co-worker. As they read it, the little voice in their head adds a sarcastic tone. Mind you…the person reading it put the tone into the message. The email is just words. So in response, the person replies with a clipped response, or maybe he doesn’t reply at all. Now the sender and the receiver are frustrated with each other.

It happens all the time. Are you guilty?

If you want to stop the drama from the example above, consider these suggestions:

  • Believe that the person sending the message has good intentions (just like you) and think about what the sender is actually saying, not how you think it’s being said.
  • When you read an email, change the voice in your head. Read the message as if the person is simply responding in a matter-of-fact way.
  • If you are unsure of how to take a message you receive, pick up the phone and talk to the sender. Or better yet, go have a face-to-face conversation.
  • Don’t hide behind email when there is the possibility of a misunderstanding. Or if you believe feelings could be hurt. Again, pick up the phone or go talk to the person.
  • Don’t “reply all.” Stop copying everyone on emails to cover your a**. If you’re the recipient of a “reply all,” use the feature in your email client to leave the conversation.

Next time you get the feeling that an email response isn’t what you’d like, stop and consider the options. You may be the drama carrier, but you don’t have to be…

Looking to improve the culture within your organization? We can help do just that! The Culture Challenge