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Stopping Workplace Drama: What Every Business Professional Should Know

Explore the steps you can take to deal with drama effectively and professionally in the workplace.

Whether you’ve just earned your degree and are looking for a new job opportunity, or are well established in your career and managing people, personalities can play a huge role in any workplace. What we’re speaking of is drama—and it isn’t limited to our personal and familial relationships or the activities we engage in outside of our jobs. In fact, sometimes our work environment generates more drama than any other area of our lives. That’s why it’s important to know how to manage and curtail these kind of situations as they arise. So, how can you effectively and professionally deal with drama in the workplace? Below, we go over five helpful steps.


1. Practice self-reflection.
In a moment of frustration, you make a comment about the poor punctuality of a co-worker to an office mate within earshot. The next day, you realize that the chronically late co-worker somehow knows everything you said. And though it’s easy to point the finger of blame elsewhere—like at the person you shared with during your brief lapse in judgment—practicing self-reflection is the better route to take. By focusing on your own behavior, you can assess the role you played in the situation. Use this insight to then identify what to avoid next time and inform future decision-making. Ultimately, you can’t control someone else’s actions, but you can control your own.

2. Stay present.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in hypotheticals, especially in the workplace. But by focusing on made-up scenarios, you are only creating more anxiety—and potentially drama—for yourself. For instance, you may be in the habit of thinking about all the things that could go wrong that day as you commute to work. And though some thoughts you have could come to fruition, you’re ultimately setting yourself up for situations that haven’t happened and may never occur. The best thing you can do is try to stay present—perhaps by listening to music or focusing on your breathing—and be aware of how preconceived notions can negatively impact your productivity and interactions at work.

3. Get it all out.
Unlike in step one, expressing your frustrations can be a good thing when shared with the appropriate audience. In fact, venting about work is a common experience and often helpful in releasing pent-up stress. And having a trusted confidant—someone you have an established relationship with—makes all the difference. Whether a longtime co-worker, best friend, sibling, or partner, this individual should not only be trustworthy, but skillful in helping you direct your frustrations into positive next steps. Though sometimes it simply feels good to just get things out, the ability to shift your venting into a productive conversation cannot be overstated.

4. Have a different kind of conversation.
Texts, emails, and chat messages all have a major thing in common: You can’t hear their tone. Because of this, we naturally infer tone when reading these kinds of written communications. Unfortunately, we can be pretty off-base with how we hear something versus how it’s actually being said. That’s why it’s important to know when to pick up the phone or have an in-person conversation with someone at work. Usually, a face-to-face meeting is best when you need to address an issue, give or receive feedback, or discuss a sensitive topic with a colleague. And often, these kinds of conversations can provide much-needed insight into someone’s work communication style and personality, enabling you to detect their tone more accurately going forward.

5. Take a walk.
Sometimes, the best way to deal with drama in the workplace is to walk away from it. This doesn’t mean storming out of a department meeting or running to business management when a co-worker wrongly blames you, again, for mistakes they committed. Rather, it’s leaving a conversation at the first appropriate exit when emotions are running high. Why? Sometimes, there’s no other resolution—especially when it comes to the problematic and patterned behavior of someone you work with. In these instances, the best thing to do is recognize these negative patterns, adjust your own behavior accordingly, and look for opportunities to disengage to avoid fueling a dramatic situation.

Expand Your Career Opportunities When You Earn Your Business Administration Degree at Walden University

Whether you’re looking to start or further your career, earning a degree that’s applicable across a spectrum of industries is key. Walden’s ACBSP-accredited BS in Business Administration (BSBA) program gives you the ability to acquire the management and leadership skills you need to excel in any environment, from healthcare to education to government. With nine concentrations to choose from, including Healthcare Management, Accounting, and Finance concentrations, you can tailor your business administration degree program to your interests and career goals. And at Walden, an accredited university, you can earn your BSBA online while you continue to work full time. With online education, there’s no need to completely rearrange your schedule or commute to campus—you can take classes at whatever time of day works best for you as you earn your bachelor’s in business administration and expand your career opportunities.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering a suite of business administration degree programs online, including a BS in Business Administration. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.

Walden’s BS in Business Administration, Master of Business Administration (MBA), Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), and PhD in Management programs are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). The MS in Accounting and BS in Accounting programs are also accredited by the ACBSP and have earned the organization’s separate accounting accreditation.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,