How To Create A Drama Free Environment

Several weeks ago, I was having this same conversation with an architect friend who decided the worst part in running his own business: he spent more time managing drama than he did in the creative process. If this is happening in your office, read this great advice from Doug Fleener.

“Two things are hard on the heart – running upstairs and running down people.” – Unknown

Staff drama can have a negative impact on morale, the customer experience, and sales results. Unfortunately, retail is essentially a petri dish for drama. Lots of downtime and working with a small group of people, many the same age and/or sex, can at times result in too much drama.

For our purpose we’ll define drama as unresolved conflict among two or more people, over-sharing of personal matters at work, constant sharing of negativity, and/or talking about co-workers who are not present.

That last one, gossip, is the biggest drama maker of all. It’s like a smoldering fire that along the way is fanned enough to blow up into a huge staff inferno. (How’s that for drama?)

The key to avoiding drama is to create a store environment where it’s simply not acceptable. That’s why I like to create a Drama Free Store. A Drama Free Store defines and communicates the expected behaviors of all employees, and managers are quick to point out when someone isn’t in alignment with those expectations.

Here are seven staff guidelines for a drama free store. I recommend that you share these guidelines with your team, and review them with each new employee who comes onboard.

1. We only talk positively about someone if he/she is not present.

2. We each take responsibility to ask someone to stop talking negatively about another person.

3. We focus our feedback on someone’s behaviors and actions, not the person.

4. We speak directly to any person with whom we are having an issue. We ask a manager to facilitate a conversation if we are unable to do so ourselves.

5. We focus on solutions rather than complaining about problems or issues.

6. We avoid sharing any personal problems at work.

7. We treat every colleague and customer better than we would like to be treated ourselves.

I suggest posting these guidelines in a very visible location in the back-room. Here’s a simple 8/12×11 sign you can download and post, or put them into your own document.

While sharing and posting these guidelines won’t stop all drama, it does cut down on the drama since the appropriate behaviors are kept top mind. It also makes it easier to address inappropriate behavior once you’ve made it clear that it is, in fact, inappropriate.

So let me ask, how drama free is your store? Consider using these guidelines to reduce the drama even more. Next week we’ll look at how to address drama if it does happen.

Reprinted with permission from Doug Fleener of Dynamic Experiences Group. A Retail customer experience consulting firms that helps companies improve their customer experience and their sales results.



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