Office drama can give managers and employees alike the urge to pull out their hair. You have seen the early warning signs: quiet whispered rumors, dramatic announcements, emotional traumas and inner office arguments with other employees. If office drama is not stopped, your peaceful, calm and thriving workplace becomes noisy and chaotic, reducing workplace productivity, draining emotions and making many of your employees dread having to go into work every morning because of office drama. How to deal with a difficult employee that enjoys drama is up to you, but here are a few suggesting for calming down and changing that attention seeker into a productive employee.
Redirect their energy
Attention seekers seem to have an unlimited supply of energy to put towards messing up the workplace, so the first step in controlling interoffice drama is by redirecting their energy for good uses. Arrange face-to-face meetings to plan projects and tasks that are very productive and require a lot of attention from your employee. Projects that will require a lot of attention, meetings, and an ending presentation are great for drama seeking people. Do not fall into the trap of trying to be polite or nice and lend a ear to personal problems from a attention seeking employee, they often exaggerate the latest crisis to get more attention and you are rewarding them exactly the way they want. Simply explain this is not appropriate work conversation and direct them to their next task, you will have to do this repeatedly until the employee understands that you will not put up with their behavior.
Clearly Defined Expectations
To reduce a employee from arguing with you over their behavior, leading to more drama, make sure you clearly define appropriate workplace behavior. Explain that conversation not related to work is only for after projects and tasks are completed and should be contained to break and lunch times. Make sure to have regular meetings about new goals and future behavior exceptions. Additionally you may need to help them understand how excessive emotions can interrupt a workplace and distance coworkers. Explain the consequences if they continue to defy the rules you just set and expect all employees to confirm in writing that they understand the expectations and resulting consequences. This means that if they start talking about personal business or rumors during a meeting, you escort them from the meeting and write them up. Each time you give them an inch of leeway they will take a mile.
Attention, Praise and Rewards
Since attention seeking employees seem to thrive on emotional stimulation and attention, you can encourage positive emotions by offering them attention in the form of encouraging reinforcement. Spend a bit of time before or after the work day listening to them talk, and find projects that you need done that will require an audience or presentation after the job is complete. Offer rewards for excellent office behavior such as a work paid lunch or public praise for a job well done. Another fun way to keep a drama seeking person busy and rewarding them at the same time is by letting them set up company parties, once they have shown that they can put their energy into projects rather than conflicts and rumors.
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