Identify Your Role In The Problem

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. 

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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.

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.

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.

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.

... 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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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RELATED IDEAS

Identify political players

We all start out naively assuming that all business leaders make decisions based wholly on fact and merit. 

The first challenge is to develop your "political sensitivity"--observe and ask questions about how things are done in your business, where the power bases are, and who might have hidden agendas.

Coworkers That Cause Drama

When you're second-guessing yourself before communicating with someone, you probably have reservations based on their past reactions. 

When you do need to communicate with such people, you may need to tailor your messages to the expectation of how they might react.

Venting feelings is not always helpful

Science suggests that while venting your emotions feel good in the moment, it might make matters worse in the long run.

Sharing our emotions reduces our stress and make us feel closer to others. When we open up, and people respond with sympathy, we feel understood and supported. But, expressing our emotions often to others may make us feel worse if we fail to gain some perspective and don't take steps to soothe ourselves.

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