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5 Ways to Deal with Drama Queens/Kings

Research by Cy Wakeman says that the average employee spends 2 hours and 26 minutes per day dealing with drama and emotion. What?!? That’s a lot of time. If you are an HR person or a manager, it may be even more! Drama results in turnover, lost productivity, and efficiency and is, not to mention, very frustrating.


There tend to be some people who come with a lot of drama which we lovingly call drama queens and kings. A drama queen/king tends to make every issue and problem about him or her. Drama usually surrounds this person and, if it isn’t already there, he/she will create it.


Here are 5 things that you can do to deal with drama queens/kings that you encounter at work:

  1. Make sure you aren’t part of the problem – I know it’s hard to believe but sometimes you might be contributing to or enabling the behavior! Check yourself and stop it if you are.

  2. See the person behind the drama – Most people aren’t difficult for the sake of being difficult. There is usually some underlying reason that is motivating them to act that way. Acknowledging this can help increase your empathy and understanding for that person.

  3. Assume positive intent – When a person who is perpetually difficult approaches us, we often defer to our preconceived notions and think, “Here we go again.” Keep an open mind and maybe you’ll get a different result.

  4. Listen and coach – Listen empathetically to the other person. Sometimes that is all they want. Coach them to deal with issues directly and to bring solutions – and over time, you may find that they are coming to you less frequently.

  5. Set boundaries and standards – Remind the person of core values/behavior standards that may not be applied to their behavior. You can also establish an “escape phrase” that you can use to end dramatic conversations when they are going nowhere. Finally, if it’s possible, try to minimize contact with drama queens/kings. It will make life easier.

Stay tuned for the next few weeks as we will continue exploring "drama" and how to deal with it!

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