How to be Drama-Free? (Start with Yourself) | The BridgeMaker

How to be Drama-Free? (Start with Yourself)

By on Sep 21, 2011

Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom. – Aristotle

Editor’s note: This article is from guest contributor Kaley Klemp, Co-Author of The Drama-Free Office.

It’s gossip, turf wars, water cooler talk, and the chronic complainer no one can stand.

When you talk with people about the organizations they work for, it’s common to hear about the “Drama” plaguing their companies: the energy-draining behaviors that keep people from focusing on the creative projects and basic business practices that make the company successful.

If we could just get through the drama, the business decisions and real work isn’t that hard.

It’s easy to blame drama on others. After all, you’re the good guy in these dynamics; why don’t they get it? One of the most difficult challenges for aspiring leaders is to “own their stuff”—to acknowledge that they are equally responsible for creating any situation where drama exists.

Four primary energy-drainers

Most drama is caused by four primary energy-draining personalities that sabotage workplace collaboration and synergy: the Complainer, the Controller, the Cynic and the Caretaker.

Most people want to start with the question: how to I help others change? But, we have found that before you can guide others, you have to take inventory of your interaction strengths and the ways you sabotage relationships. The strength inventory is usually easy. The sabotage inventory is more difficult. It requires the vulnerability and courage to seek others’ candid observations and advice about your behavior.

By identifying and correcting the four drama roles (Complainer, Controller, Cynic, Caretaker), you are well on your way to eliminating drama. You can’t see your own blind spots (by definition!), so invite your work colleagues, family members, and friends to give you timely, direct feedback.

Free drama assessment

Here is a quick way to start looking at how these drama roles shows up for you. Ask friends and coworkers:
– Where do you see me complaining? Not taking responsibility for my situation?
– Where do you see me controlling? Taking over and micromanaging?
– Where do you see be being cynical? Discounting others or being sarcastic?
– Where do you seem me caretaking? Rescuing others instead of letting them do things on their own?

You can also take a free drama assessment for yourself.

Let me know what you find out about yourself. And what can you do to change?

More from Kaley Klemp

Kaley Klemp and Jim Warner are the authors of The Drama-Free Office: A Guide to Healthy Collaboration with Your Team, Coworkers, and Boss. You can get a free sample of the book on Facebook. Follow them on twitter. Read more about them at Or, just get the book on Amazon.

  • Dia

    Hi Kaley and Alex,

    I’m a big fan of questions. Asking ourselves questions help us understand and know ourselves better. Stopping to complain is a must if we want to live life that is free from drama. As long as we don’t change our inner world, the outer world will not change. Thanks for sharing

  • Hi Kaley,
    I have seen them all & unfortunately in a past unaware life have been them all at various stages.
    It boils down to personal responsibility in my book. I no longer have time to waste or give away my energy to useless exercises. My energy is devoted to the ‘now’ and being the best that I can be.Thank you for this post.
    be good to yourself

  • I think a core blockage we have to get over is that it’s OK for us to be first in the queue in life. Sure we have kids, a busy life, many responsibilities and so on but why blame everyone else and rage at life? The choices are our own so take the foot of the accelerator pedal and allow life to happen on it’s own and do more for our own existence. Stop the fight with life, do less, relax more, cut back struggle trigger areas, chill it down and then the dramas that used to be nightmares will simply be silent nights.