Ep 135 – Women at Work: Ditch the Workplace Drama

women at work: ditch the workplace drama

I recently launched a series here on Workology focused on women in the workplace. The feedback from my first blog post was clear. I received many emails, DMs and phone calls sharing their stories and wanting more.

Workplace drama is real and it can be detrimental to your success at your job and in your career. USA Today recently reported that nearly half of employees have committed revenge at work. This includes 36% of entry-level workers, 45% of senior managers, and 38% of general managers. Drama, politics, and just crap is happening more and more in the workplace, however, the cause of the drama might not be who you think. 

Episode 135: Women at Work: Ditch the Workplace Drama with Cy Wakeman (@CyWakeman)

Cy Wakeman is an author, leadership trainer and facilitator who has a background as a therapist. She helps companies sort through their stuff to elevate their organizations and allow people to better work and collaborate together. Cy is a fantastic speaker and her work enables and calls people up to greatness. She says the key to eliminating workplace drama starts with going beyond ourselves and our own egos.

For those of us who have experienced drama at work whether it’s passive aggressive or what we feel are direct attacks by others, Cy says we need to look beyond ourselves. It probably wasn’t about us. Our reading between the lines is what creates the stress, drama, and conflict that happens in our offices.

Cy says in order to get beyond the ego narrative we have to quit believing everything we think. Just because a conflict or drama crossed our minds doesn’t mean it is true. She says a lot of this self-created narrative is driven out of ego story and fear. She suggests you question your stress, get yourself back to neutral, and ask: how can I move without fear boldly into the future?

Women Tearing Down Women at Work

We saw above from the USA Today report that revenge is happening in the office, but as women sometimes we just feel and experience work differently. It’s part of our DNA, which isn’t to say that women are being targeted but just that we are interpreting situations and scenarios differently than our male colleagues. Cy suggests conserving your energy and moving on. Don’t give your power to the ego.

Give people the benefit of the doubt and treat them well. Most women want to be empowered, so step into the power they already have. Be neutral and conserve energy and move on. Like Sheri discussed in her interview, Cy suggests we, as women, stop judging and start helping each other. 

What About Senior Leaders Who Sabotage?

In my experience, leaders are some of the worst offenders when it comes to workplace drama. Collaboration is needed across all areas of the organization, especially by senior leadership and your executive team. This fact was recently identified as the number one trend by Deloitte’s 2018 Human Capital Trends Report. Deloitte calls the trend “the symphonic C-Suite.” I asked Cy about this. She tells me that senior leadership isn’t perfect. Drama can’t get to you if you don’t let it. This is a personal choice, and as an individual who might be employed by a drama-inducing boss or toxic organization, we choose whether or not to let it impact us. 

Cy suggest that we can offer up questions to those shit-stirrers and workplace drama magnets by asking them, “What can I do next to help?” and “What would you like to see differently?” This helps move the engagement and interaction from venting to self-reflection. Most importantly, Cy says eliminating drama is teachable.

Connect with Cy Wakeman on LinkedIn.


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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.


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