An Introduction to Drama: The 5 Questions to Defining It


In preparation for our upcoming Ditch the Drama™ workshop, I wanted to send out some information regarding drama. During this time we are going to analyze all of its moving parts and how to deal with it in the workplace. However, before we get into analysis, we must first gain common ground about the nature of drama. These five questions will help us get on the same page about what drama is and how it affects the workplace.


What is drama?
I have adopted my definition of drama from Purna Steinitz, a notable public speaker on drama. After listening to him speak and including a few adaptations I define drama as: anything that results in unresolved negative thoughts, beliefs, emotions, or actions.


Where does drama exist?
To round out our definition we have to give it a setting. Drama exists:

  1. Interactions with others (meetings, conflicts, conversations, transactions)
  2. Within our own minds (conscious or unconscious)


What creates drama?
Based on the work of Stephen Karpman, Drama is composed of three defining aspects:

  1. A victim
  2. A persecutor
  3. A rescuer

An example of how these come together might look like: an employee (victim) hears that another employee (persecutor) is talking negatively about them, thus going to their manager (rescuer) with the problem and the manager deals with the other employee. This can play out in a number of different ways. Victims are not always employees; rescuers are not always a person. No matter the combination it usually generates some telltale signs.


What are the symptoms or signs of drama?

  • One or more person walks away from the interaction with unresolved negative thoughts or beliefs
  • You have unresolved negative thoughts about a situation or condition in your life.


Why is it bad in the workplace or in life?
Drama is unwelcome in the workplace for a number of reasons, they include:

  • It is toxic and contagious
  • Creates a negative impact on performance and productivity
  • It is a source of unhappiness and disengagement
  • It propagates negativity
  • It can spill over to customers or uninvolved employees


Next week we are going to discuss how the roles of victim, persecutor and rescuer perpetuate drama and how those roles can be changed to diffuse the situation, often before it begins. As we dig deeper into the subject, don’t forget to sign up for the Ditch the Drama™ workshop, where Sharon Sperry and I will unravel all our secrets to creating a drama-free workplace and lifestyle.