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    How much drama is in your dental practice?

    Is your office environment a constant soap opera? If so, these 10 tips may help to minimize the drama.

    Do you like drama? (I do, but only if it’s on TV.) Does it make the day pass quicker? Give you a little “pick me up” when things are slow? Or, are you fed up with the drama that’s in your office? You know who I’m referring to …THE drama queens, and I’m not even talking about the patients!

    For some of us, walking into work is like turning on the soap opera of life. You get tired of it and just want it to stop. So, what are you to do? Here are some suggestions:

    1. Wear headphones and block out the noise by listening to Rihanna at top volume. (Not always effective as you need to be able to hear what your coworker says.)
    2. Change the topic of conversation whenever you hear gossip.
    3. Stay focused on your job and don’t engage in this kind of behavior. (Negativity breeds negativity.)
    4. Ignore what’s going on and keep to yourself.
    5. Start conversations that are positive in nature.
    6. Pay more attention to your patients.
    7. Don’t go out to happy hour with your colleagues to complain about work. (This is your time off. Why blow it listening to people kvetch?)
    8. Vent to the boss. (But be careful as this can make for a hostile work environment.)
    9. Confront the drama queen.
    10. Accept that people are the way they are. You can't change them (You can only change yourself.)

    More from the author: The secret to great customer service

    Any of these suggestions can work, but what’s important is how you approach the situation. You may also want to consider this: Are you the problem or is it someone else? (Isn’t THAT a sobering thought? Let it percolate.) You’re awake more hours with your work family than with your biological family or family of choice. This means you have to play nice together. You’re on a team. We can strengthen each other on the team, but sometimes you have to come up with creative ways for that to happen. Maybe this is the social worker in me talking, but I’m a big proponent of communication. Talk directly to the person in a private manner, like over lunch outside the office, and address any problems. Ignoring the situation rarely does anything for the team.

    Office dramaI get emails from readers all the time saying I don’t “pick” on upper management. The truth is most of my articles ARE about upper management. What happens from the top down is what really matters. I once learned my job was being eliminated because my boss talked about it out on a smoke break. Coworkers came up to me saying how sorry they were, yet I hadn’t been formally notified. (How backwards is that?)

    The bottom line is drama occurs on all levels in the workplace. Look at yourself and see if you’re the problem or adding to the problem. And finally, find ways to communicate without irritating the queen bee in your workplace. Focus on your own emotions and thoughts and start the conversation by saying, “I feel…”

    If you’ve had experiences relevant to this topic, email [email protected] to continue the conversation.


    Lisa Newburger, LISW-S
    Lisa Newburger, a master's level social worker supervisor, helps audiences find humor in talking about tough topics. Her "in-your-face" ...


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