No Drama Queens on My Team

Real World Insights from AADOM Authors - Amy Jones

We all know how frustrating drama can be in the workplace, especially if it leads to tension throughout the entire office that even the patients can sense.

There is nothing worse than having that employee, or even a few employees in a little clique, working against one another. It seems to happen a lot when a new employee is trying to learn the ropes. The employees sometimes get frustrated especially if they are having a bad day, occasionally taking it out on another, or when someone overhears something being said and makes an assumption, and so on.

When employees bring their issues to work and vent at others, that negative energy can bring a dark cloud into the office. All it takes is one unhappy person to bring the whole office down.

Over the years of being an office manager, and even when I first started in the field of dentistry, I have seen others, and even myself, bullied.

When I first started in dentistry (over eighteen years ago), I knew nothing about working in a dental office, but certainly wanted to learn everything I could. In the first practice where I worked, the assistant and hygienist were both set against me and tried to have me fired—only two weeks after I started. They asked me to go for a girl’s night out and I was excited to be invited but learned that they had an agenda. They both went to the doctor and told him untruths about me. He brought me into his office and got my side of the story where he quickly figured out the situation. The doctor, being the amazing doctor he was, took action and the two employees were let go.

Handling Conflict and Dissatisfaction in the Practice

So now being an office manager, I fully understand the importance of making sure I get both sides of any situation and make sure that I ask questions in a way that neither party feels like I am taking sides.

It is important to face issues head-on and listen to both sides fully. Try not to make either feel like they are being judged. Let the complaining party know that you hear what they are saying, but that you will have to speak to the other(s) involved. Find a way to resolve the issue that will bring the two together so they will be able to help one another.

As managers, we need to regularly reiterate the fact that we work as a team. I have also made a point when I’m hiring someone new that this office is a drama-free workplace and I will not tolerate gossip or bullying in any way. No drama queens here.

Training meetings, setting a positive tone, fun team-building activities, and displaying behavior that commands respect, such as showing self-control, calm, and kindness, are all part of how we reduce drama and maintain a professional workplace atmosphere.

It is our job to display appropriate behavior. We all have bad days, but when we see it within our team, reminders to politely walk away when around inappropriate behavior or allowing team members to take a breathing break, or an inside joke to get that chocolate kiss snack break…is one of those teaching moments managers need as part of their management toolkit.

However, it is imperative as managers that, at the first sign of drama, we have a one-on-one meeting with any employee found to be unprofessional.

By regularly reminding our staff that we represent the doctor and always need to be appropriate for time and place, we are accomplishing one of our most important tasks. Patients can feel our tension and stress. It is our job to be professional and set a positive atmosphere in the workplace so our patients want to return.

We might sometimes forget that our stress in everyday life can affect our work and our team members, yet as managers, we set the tone for the office. It is our job to set an example for a great day, week, month, and year. We need to come to work with a positive attitude doing our best to show kindness because we never know what is truly going on in the lives of our coworkers or patients.

About the Author

Headshot of Amy Jones

Amy Jones, MAADOM, has been in dentistry for almost eighteen years where she trained to be an office manager shortly after she started. Amy began a career in optometry for nearly five years and then decided to pursue a different path.

She started working as a dental receptionist and found that her passion is dentistry and helping patients love their smiles again. Amy started cross-training to assist and help where needed. She loves learning anything she can about dentistry and how to help run a successful dental practice.

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