How much DRAMA is in your dental practice?


Figure out how to deal with or avoid the drama in your office.

Do you like drama? (You betcha…if it is 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 is in your office?

You know what I am referring to…the drama queens, and I am 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?

1. Wear headphones and block out the noise by listening to Rihanna at top volume. (Not effective as you need to be able to hear what your co-worker says.)

2. Change the topic of conversation whenever you hear gossip. (Some of those drama queens don’t release a conversation until they are good and ready.)

3. Stay focused on your job and don’t engage in this kind of behavior. (Negativity breeds negativity.)

4. Ignore what is going on and stay to yourself. (Not the best thing to do when you work with people. They tend to say you are stuck up or something.)  

5. Start conversations that are positive in nature. (Current events don’t count here if you are talking about politics.)

6. Pay more attention to your patients. (Yeah, but they can’t talk back when I am working on them. Otherwise, spit happens.)

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. (Yeah, like that will change anything. Just makes for a hostile work environment.)

9. Confront the drama queen. (Yeah, right.)

10. Accept that people are the way they are. You can’t change them. (You can only change yourself.)

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Any of these suggestions can work, but what is important is how you approach it. I know that it is a snarky answer to these ideas, but…it is something to think about. Are you the problem or is it someone else? (Isn’t THAT a sobering thought? Let it percolate.) You are awake more hours with your work family than with your biological family or family of choice. This means you have to play nicely together. You are 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 am a big, big proponent of communication. Talk directly to the person in a private manner; say over lunch outside the office, to address any problems. Ignoring rarely does anything for the team.

I 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. (Let’s see if my editor rewrites that one.) 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. Co-workers came up to me saying how sorry they were, yet I hadn’t been formally notified. (How backwards is that?)

Bottom line…drama occurs on all levels in the workplace. Look at yourself and see if you are the problem or adding to the problem. And finally, most important, find ways to communicate without irritating the queen bee in your workplace. Start by saying, “I feel…”

If you have had experiences relevant to this topic, please email to continue the conversation.

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