Business as Usual: Avoiding Disharmony, Conflict and Drama, Oh Dear!

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By: Helene Cavalli, guest blogger

Conflict creates drama.

What constitutes conflict? Let’s say a “state of disharmony”.

We all have some disharmony in our lives at any given time – be it physical, mental, financial, and emotional or some combination.

Sometimes the disharmony in our lives can make things a little complicated. Sometimes it creates challenges. And it can be especially difficult when disharmony manifests into dramas that threaten to spill over into our work lives.

While “all the world’s a stage”, you don’t want your personal dramas playing out on the office stage.

The only drama that belongs in the office is the amazing character arc that traces your development and transformation into a high performer.

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If there is anything that will diminish your credibility in the eyes of your manager and colleagues, it’s letting those little “dramas” come to work with you.

Here’s some sage advice from Shakespeare:
“Give thy thoughts no tongue.”

Need help doing that? Place all of your drama in a box. Lock it up tight. Put it under your bed. Leave it there. So, before you go into the office this morning, unpack the drama you’ve been carrying around. Leave it behind. It’s heavy stuff and you’ll be surprised how much lighter you feel.

It may feel harsh, but personal dramas, like the ubiquitous stomachaches, spats with significant others, hangovers, cash shortfalls, sore big toes, or ill third uncles don’t have a place in the office.

Even when the personal challenges you are facing are serious and disruptive, it’s important to set boundaries to ensure you stay focused on your work.

Co-workers may show concern, but you’re creating a perception of weakness, immaturity and poor judgment. This may get you some attention and sympathy in the short-term, but in the long-term it certainly isn’t the path to leadership roles or promotions.

Before sharing personal information, consider how you want to be perceived.

If you want to be taken seriously as a professional or aspire to more challenging roles, think about whether or not you’re demonstrating behaviors that say you’re competent, levelheaded, reliable, confident, discerning and discreet.

The workplace can be brutal.

  • Your dramas give people ammunition to use against you.
  • Don’t give people a reason to think you can’t get the job done.
  • Don’t give people a reason to think you can’t handle pressure.
  • Don’t give people a reason to think you can’t make good decisions.
  • Don’t give people a reason to think you’re unreliable.

And don’t give people something to gossip about.

Choose your role on the office stage carefully.

  1. How would you describe the character you are playing?
  2. How would your manager and co-workers describe you?

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Remember, save the drama for your mama.


Helene Cavalli is a marketing professional for a management consulting firm. She studied Liberal Arts and wanted to be a sociologist. Helene loves foreign films, living in Philadelphia and taking her dog to the park. Follow Helene on Twitter and connect with her on LinkedIn .

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