Don’t Get Sucked Into the Victim Story

If you love people, it’s easy to get sucked into the victim stories of your employees.  Before you know it, you are making excuses for their poor performance, giving the benefit of the doubt instead of a final warning, and getting pre-occupied with the workplace relationship issues or problem of the day.

In my book, Stop Workplace Drama, I talk about how to identify the rescue role on the Karpman Triangle.  Another way to look it is by asking this question: When do you know that you’ve gotten “sucked in?”

7 Red Flags That Indicate You Got Sucked Into the Victim Story

  1. You feel drained from so much listening.
  2. You believe everything that is being said.
  3. You have an undeniable urge to give advice.
  4. You have a habit of letting things slide.
  5. You are avoiding a difficult conversation.
  6. You see your employee as weak or helpless.
  7. You are more angry about their problem than they are.
How to Leave the Rescue Role
First, you have to start honoring the person and discounting the story instead of honoring their story and discounting what they are capable of.  This skill is about “seeing” them differently so you can help them to step into a new truth.
Here is a method to help them and help yourself:  When the victim comes to you complaining or story-telling, avoid the urge to fix, or to make feel better. Have compassion, but let this person do his own emotional work. Acknowledge what is being said, then say silently to yourself, “This is how he feels, now how I feel.”Then ask the person a question: What are your choices?  Then hold your tongue. Once a person recognizes his choices, he transforms from victim to creator.
When you contribute to the transformation from victim to creator, now you are a leader in the true sense of the word.