How to Quickly End Office Drama

Office drama

Office drama – interpersonal spats, personality conflicts, pissing contests, and backstabbing – serves no useful purpose.

Leaders frequently say people “problems” top the list of concerns they daily address.


  1. Elevates pettiness.
  2. Distracts from mission and vision.
  3. Drains energy.
  4. Reflects power struggles.
  5. Creates winners and losers.
  6. Encourages turf wars.
  7. Establishes pecking orders.
  8. Indicates immaturity.
  9. Reveals self-serving.
  10. Undermines productivity.

The worst:

Pretending to “help” while intending to hurt
is the lowest form of office drama.

People who offer “help” in front of powerful people, rather than in private, often work to make others look bad while making themselves look good.

Don’t get caught:

Chris Cabrera can’t stand office drama. Chris cares for people. But, he doesn’t care if Susie hurt Bobby’s feelings. “I don’t want to hear it. I don’t care.” Chris said.

Chris explained that when a new manager comes to him with a story of “he said, she said,” I tell them, “I just want the facts.”

“New managers,” Chris explained, “Leave my office and let everyone know I’m not going to listen to the drama.”

Those who listen to drama create and encourage drama.

One particularly frustrating form of drama for Chris is the triumph of process over progress. He doesn’t want to hear, “They didn’t use the right form or follow the procedure.” He’s an entrepreneur. Stuck or slow is the worst.

Chris’s real concern is, “Are they working for the good of the company.”

Stop drama:

  1. Impart conflict resolutions skills.
  2. Expect and honor respect.
  3. Celebrate diversity.
  4. Don’t solve drama for people.

For a more participative approach to dealing with office drama read: “Dealing with Tattlers, Whiners, and Backstabbers.”

What’s your preferred style and strategy for dealing with workplace drama?


This post is inspired by my conversation with Chris Cabrera, founder, president, and CEO of Xactly, #13 Best Small Place to Work in 2012.


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