The Drama Queen (or King) At Work

Everyone knows who this is. This is the… ‘Why does the boss pick on me?’, ‘why am I always first?’, ‘why did he/she say that to me?’, ‘why was I centered out?’, ‘blah, blah, blah why me?’, ‘blah, blah, blah poor me’, ‘I’m better than everyone else, so why me?’ crier of the team.

Nothing is ever this person’s fault. Everyone should do everything their way. They speak without thinking and expect to be known as the guru of whatever subject is at hand. They wonder why they get ‘called out’ when they speak without filtering what they are saying. They interrupt, are abrupt, don’t know when to stop asking questions and provide commentary on every single point of a presentation, especially if they do not appreciate the presenter. They call their peers to re-hash every meeting, focused on any comments made by ‘the boss’…because those comments were all directed at them, of course!

So what do you do about this person? How do you handle them? Does ignoring them really work, or does it leave you ready to vent to your peers?! What are they thinking? Can you get inside their mind and understand why all the drama is required? Is this co-worker a narcissistic histrionic – everything is always about them to the maximum degree? Is there hope for an histrionic?

Perhaps. Let’s start slowly. It does not serve anyone well to get upset, irritated or yell at the Drama Queen (or King). You would only be enabling the ‘Drama-Queen (or King)-ness’. You would need to start by trying to understand. Perhaps, and most likely, this individual is insecure, has low self-esteem and needs constant validation. This individual is really looking for you to make them -and keep them- the center of attention. They are looking for you to validate their view of the negativity so they can continue to be in the drama.

Try this.

1. Ask the Drama Queen (or King) to put themselves in the other person’s shoes and ask them how they would handle the situation.

2. Ask the Drama Queen (or King) to consider the context of the comment that was directed at them. For example, if the topic is low sales and their region has the lowest sales, would the comments be valid.

3. Ask the Drama Queen (or King) to reverse positions with you and hear what is being said from your shoes.

4. Ask the Drama Queen (or King) about the obvious – for example, they  Dramacool  are region 1 so they will always be first in the discussion of results. If you are brave, suggest that the Drama Queen (or King) as the meeting facilitator to start from a different direction.

5. Play back to the person, in exact words and tone what they have just said to you. Ask them to respond to this. It could be that they do not realize that they are always in Drama Queen (or King) -mode. And last, but not least, humor may actually help diffuse some of the pent up emotion and quell some of the jitters, allowing the Drama Queen (or King) to see their own reflection in the mirror and correct their own behavior. Validating their Drama Queen (or King) behavior only enables them to continue. For the sake of, at the very least, the business, be honest with them and help them to resolve their issue.

Each Drama Queen (or King) is different, so handle with care. Don’t forget to look in the mirror for the latent Drama Queen (or King) within each of us.


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