There are few evils which contend in destroying a Culture’s Soul more than Workplace Drama. This wicked fiend slithers throughout an organization leaving a trail of overwhelmed, frustrated and resentful people. Rapidly, processes break down, tasks cease to be completed, and everyone is exhausted. The fun, the pop, the trust of a team is supplanted with a focus stealing chaos that consumes the team’s lifeblood. Many managers living with Workplace Drama are easily confounded and can lose faith in their passion. Their Vision becomes clouded and they begin to give up the cause.
Dealing with Workplace Drama is one of the least rewarding parts of being a Leader. It has the potential to suck the life out of you, and to eradicate your motivation. Often it leaves mangers wondering: “Why did I choose this career?” “I just don’t get it. What is everyone’s problem? Why can’t they just do their work? It’s like dealing with children.”
Occasionally people need to blow off some steam. They huddle around the water-cooler sounding off about a particular boss or co-worker. Mostly it is momentary harmless banter. The water-cooler talk provides an outlet or release which can be healthy venting in measured doses. But when the line is crossed and your team becomes stirred up, immobilized, upset, unhappy and otherwise dysfunctional, you have a calamity on your hands. The culprits will begin to withhold information, manipulate situations, steal ideas, or act helpless so that others will come to their aid and give them extra help. Individuals are depicted as fools or villains and all of a sudden, everything is a big deal to the point of exhaustion. Everything is elevated to crisis proportions. And your boss is looking at you and wondering why you can’t keep your team “under control”.
Workplace Drama must be eradicated immediately before its Dramacool malignancy spreads. Unimpeded, Workplace Drama will scathe productivity and foster a detrimental effect on accuracy and quality. It will dissect a Team’s unity and become the focus of their work activities and priorities. Those directly involved in the drama will take their “eye off of the ball” and induce costly mistakes. This time waster, founded in bad behavior, prevents everyone from being great. It reduces everything you are trying to build. Unless you are prepared and equipped to contend with Workplace Drama, it will draw you into it as well and denigrate your standing as a Leader. As usual everyone knows the score, and they are waiting. Waiting to see what you are going to do about it.
Let’s start off by gaining a basic understanding of Workplace Drama. Believe it or not the Drama is a predictable plot with predefined roles. The moves of the “Game” are always the same. In 1968 Stephen Karpman developed the as a psychological and social model of human interaction in transactional analysis. Karpman’s Triangle conjectures three habitual role-plays which drama seekers adopt: