How to Recognize and Stop Workplace Drama

Drama is what happens when people struggle against themselves or others, with or without awareness, to justify their unhealthy behavior.

After many years of working with leaders at all levels, in companies of all sizes, we’ve distilled the top ten drama behaviors that undermine productivity, morale, and engagement. Do you ever…

  • do things for people even when they don’t ask for help?
  • avoid asking for what you want when in conflict?
  • lose patience when things don’t go your way?
  • get frustrated with others who aren’t as committed as you?
  • avoid sharing your feelings about a situation, thinking it won’t matter or it will cause problems?
  • give unsolicited advice?
  • take negative feedback as a sign of personal rejection?
  • give unsolicited advice to make others better?
  • choose compromise to avoid conflict?
  • use fear or guilt to influence behavior?

Each one of these behaviors indicates that you are falling into one of the behavioral roles in the Drama Triangle; Victim, Persecutor or Rescuer. Each one of these behaviors sends a subtle invitation to the people around you to join the party by playing a complimentary role, or commiserating with you to stay in drama. For each behavior, I am sure you have plenty of good reasons for doing it; reasons that keep you in a rut, trying the same things over and over hoping for different results.

What other drama behaviors have you seen? Respond to this blog to share your experience.

Drama costs the US Economy as much as $350 billion per year in lost productivity, absenteeism, and unhealthy conflict. Many motivated leaders with good intentions believe that managing or eliminating the conflict will help.

Unfortunately, conflict isn’t the problem. The problem is HOW the energy of conflict is handled. Conflict is energy and holds tremendous potential to energize connection, innovation, and perseverance.

Free Resources To Stop Drama In Your Life

  1. Learn about the Drama Roles.
  2. Three essential compassion skills for leaders
  3. Three secrets to replace drama with compassion for relationships that last
  4. Nate Regier’s popular podcast on Compassionate Accountability
  5. Nate’s article in Success Magazine, Do This, Not That: A Guide to Drama In The Workplace

Copyright 2016, Next Element Consulting, LLC

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