7 Ways to Deal with Office Drama

Everyone knows the drama kings/queens in the office. They’re the ones you dance around. “Don’t upset Barry.”

Drama queens go to the boss rather than colleagues to voice complaints. Drama kings walk into offices and close doors behind them.

bull causing turmoil in rodeo

Office drama dominates weak, stagnant organizations.

Negative behaviors you tolerate dominate.

Office drama is about control. Emotional turmoil is the tool.

7 goals of drama kings and queens:

  1. Prevent change. The fear of creating drama prevents change in stagnant organizations.
  2. Undermine another’s advancement.
  3. Destabilize growing relationships that feel threatening.
  4. Power. People losing power use drama to regain it.
  5. Control. Things aren’t going the way they should. Let’s stir the pot.
  6. Turf. “Get out of my area.”
  7. Appreciation. Unappreciated workers create drama to invite acknowledgement. “I’m sorry you’re upset. You’re important to the team.”


Office drama distracts focus, drains energy, and demoralizes teams. Drive to excel shrinks in the face of emotional turmoil. Watercooler conversations waste time.

Leaders who listen to drama invite drama.

Deal with drama. Don’t listen to it.

7 ways to deal with office drama:

  1. Ask, “What do you want?” NOT, “What’s the matter?”
  2. Pursue a culture of transparency and candor. Drama thrives in secrecy.
  3. Choose results over procedure when possible.
  4. Stay focused on what’s important today.
  5. Train teams in conflict resolution.
  6. Celebrate diversity.
  7. Ask, “How will this conversation make us better?”

Bonus: Don’t reward drama kings by giving them too much attention.

What strategies help leaders deal with drama kings/queens?