How to Stop Employee Drama

Many business owners I talk to are very frustrated with employee drama. A question I hear over and over is, “Why can’t employees just get along with one another and do their jobs?” Often, business owners are blind to their own role in perpetuating the drama among employees. That was the case with Dr. Jones.

Dr. Jones,* the owner of a busy private practice, is known throughout his community as a caring, compassionate physician. He has strong personal values about how people should be treated. Dr. Jones regularly expresses his appreciation for his employees. In spite of this strength in communicating and motivating others, morale has been low and there's a lot of conflict among his staff. There's a lot of drama!

Why was this happening despite Dr. Jones' best intentions?
When Dr. Jones sought my services, he shared with me what he most wanted–to serve the people of his community with exceptional care and to build a great team he could support in achieving their goals.

Dr. Jones expressed his frustration with the on-going drama occurring with his staff. “It seems there is always one person stirring up trouble. When that person leaves, it settles down for a while, but then the drama starts again. Why can't people just get along and do their jobs?”

Dr. Jones kept his nose to the grindstone and tried to ignore the “office drama.” His motto: “Just do what needs to be done and move on!”

Dr. Jones ignored the finger-pointing and accusations among members of his staff. It seemed directed at one particular staff member, but Dr. Jones didn't want to confront her. He doesn't like confrontation. This staff member regularly came in late, left early, took long breaks, made insensitive comments to patients and generally performed poorly. This had gone on for several months and the situation was getting worse, instead of better. Dr. Jones confided in me that he fantasized about closing his practice just to end the drama.

When I spoke with the employees, I discovered something shocking to Dr. Jones. Although the rest of the staff was extremely frustrated with this particular co-worker, they were even more frustrated with Dr. Jones for not doing anything about the situation. In fact, one of Dr. Jones' best employees confided in me that she was strongly considering a job offer she recently received. Dr. Jones had more problems on his hands than he even realized!

What was at the root of these problems in Dr. Jones' office? Dr. Jones' Achilles Heel was undermining the very thing he wanted most and wreaking havoc in his business. What he most wanted was a harmonious workplace where everyone got along. Instead, he had on-going office drama that just wouldn't go away.

What is Dr. Jones' Achilles Heel that kept undermining him despite his best intentions? Dr. Jones is overly concerned about the needs of others and he does not like conflict. He was reluctant to confront his staff member because he did not want to upset her. He hates to see his employees cry. In spite of this employee’s chronic poor performance, Dr. Jones did not want to fire her because she had a family to support (Yes, Dr. Jones was more concerned about her keeping her job than she seemed to be!). Dr. Jones was so focused on her needs that he was neglecting his own needs and the needs of the rest of his employees.

Dr. Jones certainly had some challenges in front of him. He needed a lot of support to address his Achilles Heel as he turned the situation around. He did it. And, he learned valuable lessons along the way that he continues to apply.

Remember that one star employee who was about to leave? She was so impressed by Dr. Jones commitment to addressing his Achilles Heel, she decided to stick around. Eventually, she did work on her own Achilles Heel and they now have a thriving team with a “zero-tolerance” policy for office drama among the employees.

You too can have a drama-free business. Inquire today about how we can help you put a stop to the drama.

*Dr. Jones is a fictitious name. The situation described above is compiled from several clients with whom I have worked. This scenario is one I encounter often with business owners who care about their employees.

About The Author

Dr. Sabrina Starling, The Business Psychologist and international best-selling author of the How to Hire the Best series and The 4 Week Vacation™, is the founder of Tap the Potential and host of the Profit by Design podcast. At Tap the Potential, we work to free business owners from the constant demands of a growing business.

We believe work supports life, not the other way around. Clients in our Better Business, Better Life coaching program have more time for what matters most and more money in their bank account than they’ve ever had. Next, we send them off on a 4 Week Vacation™ to celebrate their hard-earned journey to take their life back!

Dr. Sabrina and her team at Tap the Potential are on a mission to change the story of entrepreneurship from one of long hours, grinding it out, to one of sustainably profitable businesses that support and enhance life. The Tap the Potential Solution™ and our Tap the Potential Family of Business Owners are disrupting small business as usual. We are on our way to making the Tap the Potential Solution™ the mainstream model for growing business.

By 2023, 150 Tap the Potential clients will have taken 4 Week Vacations. These are the trailblazers, role modeling what’s possible for entrepreneurs. In many entrepreneurial circles, it is becoming more and more common for one entrepreneur to ask another, “Have you taken a 4 Week Vacation™?” (as opposed to asking “How many employees do you have?” or “What is your annual revenue?”). Taking a fully unplugged 4 Week Vacation is rapidly becoming the recognized symbol of entrepreneurial success.

Never one to accept the status quo or back down from a challenge, Dr. Sabrina’s How to Hire the Best series grew from her desire to solve the toughest hiring challenges interfering with her clients’ growth and profitability. What sprang from her experience working with entrepreneurs in rural areas catapulted her into becoming the world’s leading expert in attracting top talent in small businesses—no matter what hiring challenges those businesses are facing—and earned Tap the Potential’s reputation as the go-to resource for entrepreneurs committed to creating Great Places to Work with thriving coaching cultures and highly engaged team members working from strengths.

As The Business Psychologist, and with her years of driving profit in small businesses, Dr. Sabrina knows what it takes to find, keep, and motivate exceptional performance out of your biggest investment—team members.