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the drama triangle and toxic workplaces

At my ISPI meeting tonight (International Society for Performance Improvement), our guest speaker was Ed Muzio, CEO of Group Harmonics, and author of Four Secrets to Liking Your Work, and more recently, Make Work Great, both popular books offering great solutions to “stopping the drama” in the workplace.  The YouTube video below, called Stop the Drama and Do the Work, is only 4 minutes, or so, but it packs a good punch of common sense.

In the video Muzio discusses the Drama Triangle Avoidance model.  There are three roles in this model, Muzio explains them like this: 

1) Persecutor – someone who blames, criticizes, shames, snipes or back-stabs a victim.  The 2) Victim role then, is someone who follows orders, deflects blame, could be cynical, displays “poor me” attitudes, displays hopelessness. And finally, 3) the Rescuer Role – they are the Cheerleaders, they fight the power or plan a coup, they help the wounded one, tend to their hurt feelings, and they are the go-to person to fix problems.

In these three roles: Persecutor, Victim, and Rescuer are certain behaviors that inhibits work from getting done.  The trick is to reject the roles.  For instance, there are nasty and toxic people in my workplace who like nothing better than making others miserable – stealing your work, undermining your efforts, and basically trying to make you look bad so they look better.  They are everywhere in my workplace, especially prevalent in leadership roles which makes their influence worse.  (Why people who hate people are allowed to lead people I will never understand.)

Ed Muzio has a solution that will be helpful both inside and outside of the workplace.  The secret?  “Behave as if the role is not real.”  If we refuse to be the victim, the persecutor cannot be real….they may act as such to all outward appearances, but without a victim they’re just a lot of hot air!

Take a look at the video- it’s all explained – I think you’ll enjoy it, too!

And then there’s the all too common toxic workplace ….

Next month our ISPI guest will be Dr. Linnda Durre, her book Surviving the Toxic Workplace, is a huge success.

Do insulting screamers, incompetent assistants and outdated equipment drive you crazy?  Are you surrounded by vicious backstabbers, sneaky idea stealers, and lazy whiners?  Do the nitpicky control freaks, negative pessimists, and office gossips bring you down? Welcome to the Toxic Workplace, a not-so-rare condition that has reached epidemic proportions. In this ingenious step-by-step guide, renowned psychotherapist Linnda Durré shows you how to diagnose and treat these problems quickly and effectively to ensure the health of your company, your career, and your sanity.

This is a book I want to read!

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