Breaking out of the Drama Triangle
Unhealthy workplace drama lowers trust and creates a culture of learned helplessness, doing the bare minimum, meetings-for-the-sake-of-meetings, misalignment, etc. The Drama Triangle is an evidence-based model that describes the root causes of such dysfunction. Luckily, there are things you can learn to break the pattern, with spectacular results for yourself, your team, and your entire organization. The "Breaking Out of the Drama Triangle" workshop introduces you to these basic concepts with some practical takeaways you can apply immediately.
Outline/Structure of the Workshop
- (10) Introduction, Why this is Important, Learning Goals
- (10) Introduction to Drama Triangle Roles
- Includes mentions of transactional game theory
- Discuss how to recognize the problematic behavior characterized by each role and the dynamics while also maintaining empathy.
- (20) Drama Triangle Role Play: Explore the Drama Triangle roles and the dysfunctions of each while learning to recognize the unproductive behavior.
- (5) Setup
- (1) Divide into threesomes
- (2) Randomly select a folded, concealed handout 8.5x11” sheet with the role that contain some behaviors and tips on one side.
- (2) Discuss what’s on the sheets and the exercise
- (10) To have each person experience the various roles and the dynamics, do a quick role-play
- (2) Open the handout and silently read
- (2) Introduce the role play scenario
- (3) Role play
- (5) Share back some thoughts and learnings to the entire room
- (10) Relate the Drama Triangle to Corporate Culture
- (10) Introduction to the Winner’s Triangle Roles
- (10) Explain How Moving to the Winner’s Triangle can work
- (5) Introduce the core skills to move to better, more functional relationships. In this workshop, we focus on tthe Compassion Circle skills: openness, resourcefulness, and persistence
- (5) Discuss with the entire room
- (30) Breaking out of the Drama Triangle role-play to introduce the functional roles and spur thought on how to identify dysfunctional behavior, disrupt it, and move towards more productive interactions.
- (3) Setup
- (1) Divide into groups of six
- (2) Three people randomly select the same handouts from the Drama Triangle Role Play; the other three people select new 8.5x11” handout sheets with the Winner’s roles containing some behaviors and tips on how to coach a person to move towards these. The tips are in the form of questions.
- (15) Role play the following:
- (5) Open the handouts and have the Winner’s Triangle ones read aloud by the holder to the rest of the group of six
- (2) Introduce the role play scenario
- (3) Role play with the dysfunctional roles, while the holders of the functional roles (the Winner’s Triangle roles) observe
- (5) Switch the players-observers so that the Winner’s Triangle holders role play while the previous players observe
- (5) Have each table / group debrief and identify the key things they notice in the role-plays and what list some questions they could ask a person in the Drama Triangle to help him or her move towards the Winner’s Triangle
- (5) Have people randomly read out some of the questions to the room
- (2) Debrief the Winner’s Triangle and how it’s an improvement on the Drama one (a quick wrap-up)
- (5) What benefits does a Winner’s Culture bring?
- (10) Introduce and review the Compassion Bank worksheets as a personal tool to prepare for dealing with conflict. This helps cement learning.
- (5) Wrap-up Q&A
- Being able to articulate some of the indicators that exhibit dysfunctional roles and behavior
- Acquire a few simple steps to move to healthier, more functional relationship dynamics
- Describe some basic ways that addressing dysfunction at the interpersonal level lays the foundation for a healthier culture in the workplace
Anyone who deals with conflict, a.k.a., "anyone"
Prerequisites for Attendees
This workshop does not require familiarity with the subject matter and is level-set with the notion that attendees have no experience with the drama triangle or the like.