How to Positively Slay Your Office Dragons

I have been speaking on how to slay your ‘Office Dragons’ for 25 years now. It is a favorite topic in my Star Achievement Series® training program.

Dragons are huge, dominating, fictitious creatures. Medieval writers had vivid imaginations for big, scary things. For many people, work is like a dragon. It can be overwhelming and certainly dominates well over half of our waking hours. Sometimes the people we work with can be pretty “fiery” creatures to deal with, too. In dragon-fighting, the important thing to remember is that it’s a matter of the mind. Take care of your attitude today … it’s your primary weapon against office dragons!

There are many dragon species at work. Three of the most common perceived species are leaders, co-workers and self. Yes, you can be a dragon to yourself.

Office Dragons #1: Leaders

Leaders can be dragons when they:

  • don’t communicate on the employee’s level
  • give poor direction
  • don’t provide necessary information
  • show favoritism

There really are some dragon leaders, but most of the time, leaders are not dragons. They just appear to be that way to employees. People in management positions usually have good reasons for taking certain actions and for making the decisions they make.

Office Dragons #2: Co-workers

Co-workers can be dragons when they:

  • gossip
  • convey a bad mood at the office
  • bring personal problems to the office
  • don’t perform their part of a job

There really are co-worker dragons. We’ve all worked with them at one time or another. On the flip side, you want to make sure you aren’t being a co-worker dragon. You might be doing things you don’t even realize you are doing that upset other people. Here is what you can do:

  • Focus on your job.
  • Cooperate as a team player.
  • Avoid complaining.
  • Show enthusiasm for your job.
  • Keep confidential information to yourself.
  • Show respect for co-workers.
  • Avoid gossiping.
  • Assist co-workers when they need it.
  • Walk your talk.
  • Share necessary information.

Office Dragons #3: Yourself

You can be a dragon to yourself when you:

  • don’t focus on the job
  • let others damage your attitude
  • lack assertiveness
  • don’t see your own potential
  • take on more than you can realistically handle

You can do more harm to yourself with negative thinking than any outside dragon. It is your thought process and attitude that controls your internal dragon. You have the power at any time to tame your dragon and put out the fire of any dragon-like qualities.

Take the Are You A Dragon To Yourself? Assessment at

Weapons To Win

There is one tactic that will truly slay dragons. Face them! Dragons won’t go away unless you learn to face them in a positive fashion. Here are suggestions on how to face dragons professionally. Remember, this includes when you are a dragon to yourself.

Act … Don’t React

Reaction cycles never end. Only when you decide to think and act independently will you progress toward your goal. Reacting is responding to your immediate feeling. It puts you at the mercy of the dragon.

Educate the Dragon

Some dragons don’t even know they are dragons. Think about how, when, and where you can approach the dragon to talk about his or her behaviors. Try to help the dragon see the negative impact of these behaviors, and provide positive techniques the dragon can use to combat them.

Focus On Self-Change vs. Changing Others

A good first step is communicating with the dragon. Informing someone and offering suggestions can sometimes be helpful because people don’t always see their negative attitude or behavior. However, in the final analysis, every adult does as he or she chooses. When you can’t change a situation or a person’s behavior, look at changing your view about this person. You can still control your attitude.

Take Control

Maybe you cannot control how much you work or what kind of work is given to you, but you can establish the priorities, the manner or format, and how you organize it. You can control how you accept responsibility. Can you rise to the challenge when given certain tasks, or do you complain? Being organized, knowledgeable and positive about work and people gives you a sense of control.

Make Friends

You spend more time with coworkers than you do with your family or friends. People at work must become allies instead of dragons. The work relationship requires respect, honesty, confidentiality, appreciation, communication, and energy.

Almost every organization has a dragon floating around. Is there a dragon you can help? Are there people at work you can be a friend to? Remember, even dragons need a friend or two.

We can’t be successful by ourselves in the workplace; we must work together with respect and understanding. The success will come by your treating others with kindness and respect – no matter what dragon you are dealing with; using these weapons will benefit your career.

  • Increased peer synergy.
  • Build relationships/rapport with others.
  • It’s good business practice.
  • It opens your future possibilities.

Wishing you a great week.

Joan Burge


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