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The ways in which managers deal with—or fail to deal with—drama and negativity in the workplace have far-reaching effects on the overall organizational culture. The average professional spends a significant portion of their lives in the workplace, so it would be sensible to ensure that it is as enjoyable an experience as possible. Although many people “put up with” toxic work environments, they also frequently leave those environments to be treated better. For those who stay, it can be expected that they would be less committed and connected to their job. Instead of thinking of ways to innovate or cut costs, they might spend their mental energy imagining what they will be doing on their next vacation. Leaders who strive to create a drama-free workplace do their part to avoid that outcome.

In this Discussion, you will recall an instance of workplace drama or negativity you’ve observed or experienced. You will then analyze the manager’s role in the experience and develop specific, behavioral suggestions for ways that same manager could have responded to foster a more positive overall environment.

Post an analysis of the role of a manager in influencing workplace culture and formulate some recommended managerial action steps for addressing drama and negativity and improving the workplace culture. Specifically:

Describe, in detail, the situation involving workplace drama and/or negativity.
Interpret the manager’s role in either fueling or permitting the drama or negativity.
Explain how the manager might have behaved differently and propose some recommendations for the manager to foster a more positive, drama-free work environment going forward.

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Sample Answer

Manager’s role in influencing workplace culture

Managers play a critical role in influencing workplace culture. They set the tone for the team and establish the expectations for behavior. Managers can also model positive behavior and resolve conflict effectively.

When managers fail to address drama and negativity in the workplace, it can have a negative impact on the overall culture. Employees may feel less engaged and motivated, and they may be more likely to leave their jobs. Additionally, a toxic work environment can lead to decreased productivity and increased absenteeism.

Full Answer Section

Example of workplace drama and/or negativity

I once worked in an office where there was a lot of drama and negativity among the employees. One particular employee, named Sarah, was always gossiping about other employees and starting arguments. She was also very competitive and would often try to sabotage other people’s work.

Our manager, David, was aware of the situation, but he didn’t do anything to address it. In fact, he sometimes participated in the gossip himself. This made the situation worse and created a very hostile work environment.

Manager’s role in fueling or permitting the drama or negativity

David’s inaction fueled the drama and negativity in the workplace. By failing to address Sarah’s behavior, he was sending the message that it was okay to gossip about other employees and start arguments. He was also creating a competitive environment where employees felt like they had to sabotage each other in order to succeed.

How the manager might have behaved differently

David could have behaved differently in a number of ways. First, he could have talked to Sarah about her behavior and explained that it was unacceptable. He could have also set clear expectations for behavior and enforced those expectations consistently. Additionally, David could have created a more collaborative work environment where employees felt like they were working together towards common goals.

Recommendations for the manager to foster a more positive, drama-free work environment

Here are some specific recommendations for managers to foster a more positive, drama-free work environment:

  • Set clear expectations for behavior. Let employees know what is expected of them in terms of their behavior towards each other. This includes things like being respectful, communicating effectively, and resolving conflict peacefully.
  • Model positive behavior. Managers should be role models for their employees. This means demonstrating the behaviors that they expect from their employees.
  • Address drama and negativity early on. Don’t wait for drama and negativity to escalate before addressing it. If you see a problem, talk to the people involved and try to resolve it as quickly as possible.
  • Create a collaborative work environment. Encourage employees to work together towards common goals. This will help to reduce competition and create a more positive work environment.
  • Promote open communication. Encourage employees to communicate with each other openly and honestly. This will help to resolve conflict and build trust.

By following these recommendations, managers can create a more positive and productive work environment for everyone.

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