What the New York Giants Just Taught Us About Handling Office Drama
It was such a non-event that I thought it was a joke.
New York Giants superstar wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. (he of “The Catch”) and Victor Cruz, along with some rookie wide receivers, chartered a plane on Sunday night, January 1st, right after their win against the Washington Redskins and headed for a Miami nightclub.
The players had a late night out with none other than Justin Bieber and rapper Trey Songz (Which is French for three songs, I think. Geesh, I hope he has more than three songs or he won’t make it in that industry).
Anyway, social media blew up with pictures of the Giants players chilling on a boat, still wearing New York weather clothes but improvising by going shirtless.
Here’s the scandal: It was six whole days ahead of their playoff game with the Green Bay Packers.
Where’s Walter Cronkite when you need him to report on such injustice?
By the way, they made it back in time for practice the next day, no problem. Oh, and one other thing.
It was their day off.
And this, my dear readers, sums up much of what social media and the media proper does: It creates drama from drab.
Yes, I know, I’m part of the machine.
But that doesn’t mean I look to oil every cog.
New York Giants leadership, specifically Giants coach Ben McAdoo and quarterback Eli Manning, had responses to media inquiries that hold lessons for all leaders trying to manage their own version of office drama.
“The players are off,” Coach McAdoo told reporters, emphatically emphasizing each word. “They are not working.”
Which takes us to the first point.
- Role model drama deflation
McAdoo simply refused to play into the drama. You should too. And make no mistake, there’s plenty of drama in the workplace to diffuse.
In fact, research shows that people tend to re-create their own family drama at the office. Recognize any of these situations?
- Employees make over the top or desperate plays for approval from their bosses.
- They engage in backstabbing and bickering with scene-stealing co-workers.
- They bicker in meetings like at the family dinner table.
- They harbor petty jealousies towards co-workers.
- They make hypercritical judgments of co-workers, bosses, or subordinates.
Group dynamic researchers say the parallel should make intuitive sense considering that the first organization people ever belong to is their families, with parents the first bosses and siblings the first colleagues.
So, especially if you’re the workplace patriarch, don’t feed the drama.
That is, unless it’s effecting productivity, which could well be the case as research indicates that these kind of “family dramas” can waste 20-50 percent of workers time. Which takes us to the next point.
- When the drama truly distracts, address it head on
Make participants in the drama aware of the impact their behavior is having. Let them know it’s not acceptable and take disciplinary measures if necessary. Frankly, in so doing you might be able to teach NFL coaches in general a thing or two on this front as they often diffuse, but too often don’t discipline.
Now, onto Manning’s brilliant response when questioned about his receivers’ sojourn:
“I’m a little disappointed. I think as a team, we always pride ourselves in being well prepared, so when I saw some of those pictures, I was a little disappointed just because they obviously didn’t pack accordingly.”
Manning continued, barely able to contain a smile.
“They didn’t have any shirts obviously, all long pants–no shorts or flip-flops or anything. So I’m disappointed in the packing and not being prepared for that situation.”
Manning was certain to clarify that neither he nor any other Giants thought anything of it “because it was an off-day”. He also joked, “I was telling people that I took the boat picture because they wouldn’t let me in it with my shirt off, so they made me take it.”
The last lesson?
- Keep it in perspective and keep a sense of humor
Workplace drama can escalate and get emotional, fast. Remember that people are often just playing out natural tendencies and that the drama can indeed run emotional. A little respectful humor can help put everything into perspective.
Now, I’m headed out to a party. Tell Inc. not to worry. It’s my day off.
This article by Scott Mautz also appeared on Inc.com. To read more Inc. articles by Scott Mautz click here.
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