I distinctly remember my generation’s addiction to the reality television show, The Real World. MTV first aired the show in May of 1992 and people were hooked. What was it that people loved so much about the show? The drama of course!
It is one thing to take an hour or two of our day or week to enter the world of another person and enjoy some drama, it is quite another to live it daily with our coworkers! And, let’s face it, there is a lot of drama at work these days. People’s personal lives flow across work boundaries, power struggles between various individuals, secrets and gossip, and the list goes on. So, how can we love our coworkers despite the drama? Here are a few tips:
- Don’t engage in gossip or rumors. For example, if someone comes to you and tells you something negative about another coworker. Respond by saying something such as, “I’m so sorry to hear that. I will keep them in my thoughts and pray for the best.”
- Steer clear of power struggles. People vying for power usually need to leach power from others around them, solidifying their support and gathering more power. Set firm but fair boundaries with others, don’t play favorites, and listen well to all sides.
- Support coworkers in their struggles but don’t enable them. We are all human and life sometimes gives us more than we can handle. When it does, it is normal for that struggle to blur the lines between work and personal. We need to be loving and supportive to others during this time, but we also need to be careful that we take on the responsibilities of coworkers to the point that they become irresponsible or take advantage of our kindness. You will harbor resentments, adding to the drama.
- Set clear boundaries. Listening to coworkers’ struggles and problems is a good thing. However, we also need to set clear boundaries as to how much and what type of information coworkers share with us. We live in a world of over-sharing, which can suck us into drama very quickly. Again, a gentle world of support and encouragement followed by an assurance of thoughts or prayers often suffices.
Drama surrounds us and sometimes seems to overwhelm us. However, we do have choices to limit its influence and to encourage loving and supportive feelings towards our coworkers. How do you love your coworkers through the drama? We would love to hear. Please share in the comments.
Contributed by Liz Hunt