7 Ways to Handle Your Dysfunctional Office
By Margot Carmichael Lester, Monster Contributing Writer
Workplace dysfunction may be funny when you’re watching “The Office,” but it’s serious business when you’re trying to cope with it every day.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to bring you down. Nobody says dealing with dysfunction is easy, but if you follow this advice, chances are you can at least stay above the fray.
Step Away from the Action
Start looking at your office as though it were any dysfunctional organization from movies or TV. “Sit back as an observer and watch,” suggests Donna Flagg, principal of learning and productivity specialist The Krysalis Group. “Do not participate…because the thing that makes dysfunctional behavior thrive is the participation of dysfunctional people. If you separate yourself, you remain on the ‘functional’ side of the line.”
Remain in Control
One way to stay functional is to avoid returning fire – no matter how under siege you feel. This allows you to control the people trying to control you, says Joel Epstein, author of The Little Book on Big Ego and CEO of Friction Factor. “Most ‘ego monsters’ want you to fight with them,” adds Epstein. “It makes them happy.”
The solution? Throw the game and lose on purpose. “Let the ego monster think they’ve won,” he advises.
Concentrating on your job performance while others are engaged in less-productive activities can be an effective way of coping and advancing, says Heather Millen, a Boston-based marketing administrator. “Act how you think a professional should act, no matter how enticing it is to come to their level,” she says. “I once had a boss who thought things could only be done his way. But by sticking by what I thought was right rather than giving into his every whim, the working relationship grew stronger, and we each had greater respect for the other.”