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Leaders who Persecute Create Drama

Leaders who Persecute Create Drama

"If you don't like it, find another place to work."

"If you are so unhappy here, perhaps we can help you find a place more suited to your talents."
"What do I have to do to get your cooperation?"
(Eye roll)
Finger Tapping

Persecuting behavior comes in various flavors. From the blunt, to the subtle, to the passive aggressive to the almost undetectable body language. What it has in common is the messages communicated.

  • You irritate me.
  • You waste my time.
  • You are incompetent.

A leader without people-skills is a bully on board.  The map might be accurate, the navigation skills supreme but if you keep beating your team with the oars, your persecutor behavior will eventually show up as absenteeism, backstabbing, and turnover. The number one reason employees leave is due to relationship issues with their boss.

The word "persecutor" comes from Dr. Karpman's work, the Drama Triangle. The idea is that when there is dysfunction you will find three patterns: Victim, Persecutor and Rescuer, as indicated by the visual below.


How to Identify Persecutor Behaviors

  • The need to win every argument
  • Justifying rude behavior
  • Harsh criticism with no mercy
  • Sarcasm
  • Angry outbursts
  • Blaming

How to Stop Persecuting

  1. Get clear on how you want to represent yourself
  2. Breathe and learn to master your emotions
  3. Ask for feedback as to how others view you
  4. Correct yourself when you make a mistake by apologizing or re-framing

In Stop Workplace Drama you will see how the patterns all work together and why it is to your best interest if you are a persecutor, to get some perspective and realize that a good part of leadership is about self-awareness and people skills.


Book about Workplace Drama

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Marlene Chism is a professional speaker, consultant, and the author of Stop Workplace Drama, (Wiley 2011). She is also the founder of the Leaders Developing Leaders, an online library with digital resources for personal and professional development. For more information go to or

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