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Stop the drama at work

Stop the drama at work

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SALT LAKE CITY — This week in LIFEadvice, Coach Kim Giles gives some sound advice on changing the way you look at difficult situations and choosing a positive outlook. Coach Kim's unique tips will make you see your journey in a different light.


I work in an office with mostly women, and the drama is driving me crazy. Everyone is constantly offended or complaining about something someone else did. One of the ladies has problems in her personal life, which make her extremely grouchy and condescending. If I take my concerns to our boss I would be seen as a whiner. Do you have any tips for dealing with the politics, drama and frustrations of working with all women?


I’m so glad you asked this question, because human behavior in the workplace is my specialty. I recommend you ask your boss to do one of two things, either make everyone in the office read this article, or bring in some human behavior training for all employees. (This article can also help people who are prone to dramatic behavior at home.)

I believe a valuable employee is one who solves more problems at work than he creates. The question each of us must ask ourselves is “Do I solve problems and increase productivity in my office or do I create people problems with gossip, complaining, defensiveness and/or personal issues, which decrease productivity?” Be honest with yourself.

Ask Coach Kim
Do you have a question for Coach Kim, or maybe a topic you'd like her to address?
Email her at kim@lifea .

The real problem with drama is you can't always see what you’re doing. Most dramatic behavior is caused by subconscious thought processes you aren’t aware of. These thought processes developed when you were just a child trying to get love, validation and attention from your parents. You figured out pretty quickly that when you were hurt, scared or confused you could use those feelings to get attention. When you were sad, you could use that to get love. When you were mad, you could get validation about the injustice. Because these tactics worked, they became embedded as rules in your subconscious mind.

You may also subconsciously need drama to feel alive. Your life may feel empty if there isn’t something dramatic going on. Drama also gives you something to talk about, which makes you feel important. It creates excitement and makes the workday more interesting. You may subconsciously need life to feel like a soap opera.

The problem is, there is no room for a soap opera at work.

I recommend that everyone go through the following steps to eliminate drama and make sure you are handling yourself professionally.

  1. Find another way to get validation, attention and love. This could mean finding a friend, counselor or coach to talk to. It could mean taking up a hobby that makes you feel important or feeds your need for adventure. When you create a more interesting and fulfilling life outside the office, it will lessen your need for drama in the office.
  2. Look at problems from a long-range perspective. Try looking at problems from a bird’s eye view where you can see the problem up next to the whole course of your life. If you can distance yourself from this moment, you will see most problems aren’t a big deal and aren’t worth any drama.


  1. Remember bad behavior is about the person’s fears about themselves — it is not about you. Even when they attack you, it isn’t really about you. Their bad behavior is about their fears of failure or loss. When people are afraid of being taken advantage of, or feel their value is in question, it creates selfish, immature behavior. When you can see their bad behavior accurately (as fear) you won’t take it personally. Everything would go better if we could give each other permission to be a student in the classroom of life and let offenses bounce off.
  2. Remember you are bulletproof and no one can diminish you. You are a one-of-a-kind, irreplaceable human soul. Your value comes from this fact alone. Nothing that happens here, nothing anyone says or does can change that. Your value is the same no matter what they think. Embrace this truth and let insults and attacks bounce off.
  3. Refuse to gossip. We, as human beings, have the tendency to see everyone as better than us or worse than us. This tendency is what makes you gossip, backbite and complain about other people. You subconsciously think casting them as the bad guy, by gossiping about their faults, somehow makes you the good guy. It doesn’t. It just makes you look bad. Make a new policy against gossip and refuse to take breaks with people who do. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.” Be great.
  4. Fight the urge to vocalize everything you think. The people in your office are tired of being your therapist. You must find a friend, counselor or coach to listen to you, after work. You must also learn to process things on your own. A counselor or coach could also help you with this.
  5. Don’t bring your personal problems to work. Jane Doyle said, “If you carry personal issues or expectations and emotional needs or wounds into the office, they are likely to cause problems for you professionally. An office full of people seeking to have their needs met or wounds healed is drama soup."
  6. Get help to solve your problems. There are books, articles and videos available to help you solve any problem imaginable. There are coaches, counselors, seminars and trainings that can teach you healthy ways to cope with problems. Take responsibility and engage in the process of fixing your life instead of just complaining about it at work.
  7. Respect other people. I am going to be blunt here, it is time to grow up and respect the people around you. Creating unnecessary drama is draining your co-workers and it disrespects them. P.M. Forni, in the book "Choosing Civility," said, "If we are kind and considerate, people will want to be around us, and we will benefit from enduring circles of attention and care.” When you focus on other people and their needs and respect their time, you will feel more validated and appreciated than all the drama in the world can bring you. You will also earn their respect, and respect is what moves you up in your career. "When you become detached mentally from yourself and concentrate on helping other people with their difficulties, you will be able to cope with your own more effectively. Somehow, the act of self-giving is a personal power-releasing factor." — Norman Vincent Peal You can do this!


About the Author: Kimberly Giles --------------------------------

*Kimberly Giles gives her advice in the "LIFEadvice" series every Monday on She is the founder and president of She is a sought after life coach and popular speaker who specializes in overcoming fear. She offers a free webinar every Tuesday night with info on her website.**

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