September 1, 2016
About the author : Ben Martin is a research and business development associate at Thera Rising Intenational. He also delivers seminars and oversees digital development.
If you had to guess, how much would you say workplace drama and conflict cost your department and organization? Remember to count lost productivity, strained working relationships, supervisor time, and even employee turnover.
Of course, the amount will vary from business to business. But if your workplace is like the average organization, the cost is going to be 34 cents on every payroll dollar.
When I first heard that figure, I was blown away. I thought there was no way it could be right. But since then, I’ve become a believer.
During the core Thera Rising seminar, we ask attendees how much time supervisors at their workplace spend grappling with fallout from office politics, drama, and conflict. Even in high-functioning organizations, most people report somewhere between 30 and 50 percent. In teams that are struggling, the numbers are much higher, sometimes 70% or more. To back this up, Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report put the cost of disengagement in American businesses at between $450 and $550 billion annually!
The most powerful example came from a police department we worked with in Wisconsin. We asked the officers to break down how much of their job-related stress came from dealing with perpetrators, dealing with victims and families, and dealing with each other. The result was pretty much unanimous: “conflict within the ranks” made up around 90% of their on-the-job stress!
Fortunately, it’s within everyone’s power to put themselves and their teams south of that 34% mark. Organizations don’t fall victim to drama and conflict because they want to. It happens when fallible people like you and me make simple, common mistakes. If we don’t have the skills to correct its course, the conflict spreads and takes on a life of its own. But with skill and insight, we can take control of our organizational culture and create the climate they desire and deserve.
If you’d like to learn more about how individuals and teams can keep workplace drama in check, have a look at our Methods page. And we’ll be updating the blog with insights and tips, so don’t forget to follow our blog and check back often!
LinkedIn: Ben Martin