Making Shift Happen - Escaping the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT) with The Empowerment Dynamic (TED)

noun 1. an exciting, emotional, or unexpected series of events or set of circumstances at work
verb 1.  the ability to make peers, colleagues and management immediately crazier than normal

When colleagues adopt one of three primary dysfunctional roles at work, the result is often what we term a “Cultural Bermuda Triangle.” This can be a place where vision, mission, productivity and morale can be lost.  David Emerald points this out in his excellent book The Power of TED, The Empowerment Dynamic.

The three Dysfunctional Roles that form the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT) as described by Emerald are:   
1. VICTIM – The “oppressed” underdog who wants to tell everybody who will listen their tale of woe.
2. PERSECUTOR – The real or perceived “oppressor” who would rather be a bully than a victim.
3. RESCUER – The well intentioned “enabler” who helps perpetuate the energy sapping triangle of dysfunction.                

Those stuck in the Drama Triangle seem to perpetually dwell on what they Don’t Want vs what they Do Want.

Emerald explains that the three Roles that form The Empowerment Dynamic (TED) are:
1. CREATOR – The former Victim who moves from reacting to choosing with insight about what they want.
2. CHALLENGER – The former Persecutor who moves from the need to put down to building up.
3. COACH – The former Rescuer who instead of telling victims what to do now asks how they plan to do it.

The Empowerment Dynamic (TED) is the “Antidote” to the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT) because enlightened management focuses on what everybody wants with active and consistent steps to make that a reality.


Fortunately, Voltage Leadership has been able to deploy and employ many toxic culture busting techniques at our client organizations that have helped alleviate the symptoms of counterproductive business cultures.

So, stop the drama by understanding what role a person may be in and move out of the Drama Triangle into healthy and productive roles. Make the shift happen by focusing on what we want vs what we don’t want, move from reacting to responding to workplace experiences and reconnect with and focus on our desired outcomes. Save the Drama for your Mama.