What’s wrong with a little drama?


“Did you see this Facebook post by our new dental nurse? How inappropriate.”

“The boss is grumpy again. We should not have to put up with this. Let’s get the whole group together and complain. If it keeps happening, we should all threaten to leave.”

“Another supply company called chasing payment. The bosses must be in trouble with money. I wonder what their problems are? I bet it’s because that new dentist isn’t working out. He can be so arrogant.”

DRAMA. Some people absolutely love it! But why?

It’s because talking up a drama results in the dramatist getting attention. It is their way of developing connection with others. Often, they do not believe they can get attention in any other way, so they default to this child-like attention-seeking behaviour. They feel an exaggerated sense of importance, and they like being the focus of those around them. 

The problem is is that the dramas created by these people are usually at the expense of others. Whether it is exaggeration of a truth, revealing the content of a private conversation or making a harsh judgment on someone’s character, real damage can be caused. The basis for this kind of drama is mean, hurtful and childish. 

Good team members quickly learn to be on guard in a work environment that is controlled by a dramatist. It is not safe to stand out in any way and distrust of each other can often fester. The resulting culture is often uncomfortable enough for team members of a gentle, compassionate nature to leave for greener, happier pastures.

Many find confronting a dramatist difficult. However, I encourage you to step up and show that you are not interested in feeding this negative and destructive behaviour.

The subtle path is to avoid giving dramatists the attention they seek. Instead, give them the attention they crave when they are acting appropriately. Reward the behaviours you want repeated and remove the reward of attention for behaviours you are trying to discourage. 

A practical and effective path to deal with a dramatist is to directly address them on their actions. Sit with the person to discuss the reasons why this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated in your team, and suggest more constructive, helpful ways in which to become the focus of healthy attention. 

You may ask “What’s wrong with a little drama?” Well, like kindness, a little drama can go a long way. Stop it before it causes too much damage. And one of the huge benefits of stopping it is that the dramatist can grow and perhaps become your most motivated team members!