Workplace Wisdom

25 Feb 2014

This Is How to Find a Happier Ending to Workplace Dramas

The last few blogs have covered various kinds of typical workplace dramas and their instigators: The eager beaver type who’s “overwhelmed and overreacting;” The intelligent, intense, easily triggered “conspiracy theorist;” The “perfect victim,” who’s always right and always suffering; and The “workplace scold,” who gains self-importance by speaking for others. Of course there are other types, like the Firebomber who storms the barricades with the clear goal of blowing people up when she feels she’s been neglected for too long. […]

18 Feb 2014

What to Do About a Workplace Scold

Many workplaces have a person like Ermengarde, who’s an excellent worker and a dedicated employee in her own right, but often takes it upon herself to bring to management the concerns and complaints of other individuals and groups. Often someone like Ermengarde gets started down this road because she really does have a good relationship with her boss, and the head of HR, and other execs, all of whom appreciate her intelligence, astuteness, and credibility. Whenever an exec responds positively […]

11 Feb 2014

How to Handle an Employee Who Plays the Perfect Victim

“I’m a victim! I’m a victim!” Have you dealt with someone who sounds like that — maybe not as clearly, but just as dramatically? For Perfect Victims, everything that goes wrong is the result of someone else being unhelpful or too demanding or getting in their way. Every suggested alternative only creates new difficulties for these types. No matter what you do, the PV complains, “Why aren’t you helping me more?” Perfect Victims are convinced they’re always right, and they’re […]

04 Feb 2014

How to Cope with a Workplace Conspiracy Theorist

Most human relationships involve subtext: What you see on the surface is rarely everything that exists. But if you’ve ever worked with someone like Englebert, you know how an innocuous comment about some administrative matter can suddenly plunge you into the organizational equivalent of a whodunit complete with mystery, intrigue, perhaps an edge of danger. People like Englebert are highly intelligent, knowledgeable about their job function (even if occasionally rigid or narrow-minded), and motivated to achieve. Typically, though, they believe […]

21 Jan 2014

How to Close the Curtain on Employee Drama

How can you keep yourself from getting hooked by employee drama — especially if you’re a hero type who naturally likes riding to the rescue? It’s particularly difficult if dealing with an urgent or incendiary employee situation feels like a higher priority than much of your “regular” work — and if its urgency creates a sense of vitality and engagement for everyone involved. What would happen if you just stop joining in and playing your part in the show? Will […]

13 Nov 2012

How to Handle Workplace Tantrums and Meltdowns

A manager in a creative industry wrote in to ask how she can deal with a colleague who regularly throws hissy fits, all of which follow a similar pattern. The Hisser has a periodic and appropriate need for certain staff resources, but he never discusses them in advance. Then, when it’s late in the process, the Hisser dramatizes his needs with actual yelling and screaming, as if there will be truly horrible outcomes if he doesn’t get what he wants […]


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