Dealing with a Drama Queen
Know somebody who loudly insists that everybody stop working to see if they have her missing stapler or takes over water cooler conversation with tales of her impossible customers? Chances are you have an office drama queen on your hands, and odds are she gets on your nerves.
It is possible that the person has a personality disorder and naturally exhibits overblown emotional reactions. But it is also likely that the person enjoys the attention and getting reactions. As Dr. Janet Scarborough Civitelli -- workplace psychologist at VocationVillage.com -- notes, “People who use drama at work may have found it got them what they wanted the first few times they tried it, so now they view it as an effective workplace strategy.”
When dealing with offenders, Civitelli recommends reacting in a very low-key way and refusing to let all the over-the-top emotion dictate your behavior. Lack of enthusiastic response may be enough to show her others aren’t interested in dramatics.
Redirecting conversation also can be helpful. Hear her out for a moment, make a suggestion (such as seeing a doctor about how the office chairs are ruining her back), then move on to a new topic.
If problems continue, enlist the help of a manager. This person can make it clear that office drama will not be tolerated and that inability to work as a good team member will cause negative repercussions for the drama queen's career.