Manage the Drama Queen (or King)

oh the drama

In talking with a farm client the other day, I asked her how things were going with some of her new farm employees. “One word: DRAMA” she said.

Yuck. Who needs extra drama in their lives? Employee drama takes up a manager’s time and is inefficient. It sets a bad tone for the office and makes other employees dread coming to work. Employee drama has to be snuffed as soon as it starts.

The first step is spotting employees who tend to become drama queens and kings. Drama employees thrive on excitement and attention. A calm, peaceful day on the farm is not rewarding. Drama employees will try to spice things up with dramatic announcements, gossip, personal traumas or breakdowns – the emotional kind, not the equipment kind (although I know my fair share of farmers who have an emotional breakdown when their equipment has a breakdown).

Drama employees prefer managers who will spend a lot of time listening to their stories and getting involved in their crises. They often want the manager to “fix” things for them.

How to stop the drama. Begin by working with the drama employee to help them focus on WORK-related goals. Most drama employees have lots of energy. Find ways to channel that energy into work projects and tasks. Set up regular meetings to discuss these projects. With drama employees, face-to-face interaction is more motivating than a phone call or email.

Plan to spend some time – but not too much time – engaging in conversation not directly related to work on the farm. Drama employees love an audience, so give them that audience in a controlled manner…on your time and with a set limit.

Drama employees can greatly benefit from career counseling. Many folks with drama personalities are seeking attention but don’t know how to find validation in a positive manner. Hiring a career coach or HR specialist to work with this employee can pay dividends.

Do not…and I repeat…do not…reward the drama employee by listening to endless stories or lending your ear to constant complaints. Once fed, the drama grows. It’s hard to focus on growing your business when you are growing drama.