When workplace drama affects you, it can become an insidious cloud that permeates your day-to-day.

Be mindful and ask yourself, "What is actually going on here?" Focus on the facts and avoid what you think happened. Know that you can't control how you feel, only how you react.

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Count Your Elephants

Make a list of all of the awkward, uncomfortable realities that haven't been discussed out in the open. 

Set aside time to consciously think through, what's actually bothering you right now and write down these elephants to enable you to resolve these issues.

Be honest with yourself: Are you contributing to the situation negatively or doing anything to help?

Write down the ways in which you've contributed, and identify how you can personally take responsibility. 

Go through all the players and imagine each person individually disappearing from the organization. Does the problem go away? If it does, then this person is the key. 

If this person's performance is the issue, that's the elephant in the room that you need to address tactfully. For any other issue, your best weapon is to find empathy for this person.

You know your allies, as you've likely been venting to them. But they are red herrings that may be making things worse.

  • Venting to them reduces the symptoms without addressing the core problem.
  • By venting to them, they can allow a distorted truth when they allow you to focus on your version only instead of the full facts.

Don't give in to this distraction.

Empathy diffuses drama. Seek to understand their emotions and what they're trying to accomplish. 

Even if your opinion is unchanged, a true connection is your greatest asset to influence someone for the better.

... from most difficult to the least. If a conversation feels like it will be difficult, it means it's the most important one to stop avoiding.

Seek empathy and use as much tact as you can muster. You'll find that even if you disagree, you'll have a useful, productive conversation.

When starting a difficult conversation, lead with what you could have done better in the situation and consider sharing your personal emotions and challenges in a tactful, authentic way. 

This is a huge opportunity to create trust. It's also where most people fail, as it requires being incredibly vulnerable.

Tell the story of what you think happened, doing your best to reveal the humanity and emotions of every individual that took part.

Focus on the challenges you have been encountering and use neutral language to share your perspective. Your words will only be heard if you are incredibly tactful.

The best way to prevent drama and politics from even occurring is to share quickly and tactfully when small issues come up.

If you come from a place of honesty, identifying where you've been inauthentic or not holding up your end of the bargain, you'll maintain an open dialog. 

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