3 Keys Roles in Workplace Drama

Is your workplace a new reality TV Show or soap opera? Does drama take place on a daily basis? Kaley Klem, the Co-Author of The Drama-Free Office, states drama is the energy-draining behaviors that keep people from focusing on the creative projects and basic business practices that make the company successful. It is the behavior that keeps everyone walking on egg shells, where people tiptoe around one person’s behavior. This behavior often takes the form of bullying.

Marlene Chism in her book “Stop Workplace Drama” shows how this dysfunction plays out in the workplace. She says, “When relationships are dysfunctional, there are three basic roles that people play, the persecutor, rescuer and victim.” When you look at bullying in the workplace these roles fit. Too often, however, bullying continues because supervisors turn a blind eye and do not address inappropriate behavior. They don’t want to deal with the conflict we don’t want to have to deal with the bully, so they tolerate them.

Secondly, is there a rescuer that tries to fix the problems or handle issues that are more the supervisor’s responsibility? Although the “rescuer” tries to make things right, their behavior is keeping the dysfunction going. Until the person doing the bullying has to face the consequences of their actions, their behavior will continue. Is there someone in your workplace or family who are covering for someone? The irony is that even though the rescuer is trying to help, he or she often feels resentment and emotionally drained emotionally. The rescuer may keep the dysfunction going by hiding information, or covering for the person who is not being held accountable. The way to resolve this behavior is to have the rescuer quit covering and have the supervision hold their employee accountable.

Sometimes the victim is a big part of the problem as well because they complain that they want the behavior to change, but do they? The victim feels helpless and cannot see anyway to break out of the situation, and may complain and always wants to be right. The victim may be getting some needs met because they like the attention the drama offers. Do you have any victims in your family or work place? To minimize victim behavior, it is important to get try to involve them in solving the problem. When they say there are no options, encourage them to come back with some solutions in which they have a role, then encourage them when they follow through.

The persecutor or the person doing the bullying will often blame others for their outburst. The persecutor at work may be extremely competent and yet causes turmoil at the expense of others. They may also be a perfectionist which is why they often notice the flaws in others. To eliminate persecuting behavior you need to stop taking part in the triangulation. If the persecutor comes to you to complain about another say, “Let’s get all of you together.” In some cases, the supervisor is the persecutor and this is a sure way to lose employees and create a toxic workplace. The main reason people leave a job is due to their relationship with their immediate supervisor so upper leadership must address this situation, as soon as they find out about it.
 

Whatever the role you or others play, take responsibility for your role in the dysfunction. As a supervisor step up and hold your employees accountable for their actions. When you break the cycle, your life will become less stressful and your work much easier. Small steps will empower you to get off the drama train.

One thought on “3 Keys Roles in Workplace Drama

  1. The persecutor seems thick-skinned and does not stop when asked to stop repeating their intrusive, aggressive, harassing and bullying patterns of behavior. They are like programmed robots who have no feelings.

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