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So, what sort of thing could you say to an A-Lister who is driving you mad?
You could ask them: ‘What is it you need from me?’ This is inviting an open dialogue, rather than allowing yourself to have demands put upon you and instinctively wanting to push back.
The A-Lister may not be able to respond immediately because you are asking them to think, not just feel. If this is the case, ask them to think about the question and what they would like from you, and give them some space to do that. When they come back you can then talk about what you are able to do.
Property solicitor Carmen had been seeing Jennie about her divorce, but one morning spent the whole session complaining bitterly about a ‘moaning’ colleague, Alex, who was always too ill to do her fair share of the larger, more complex cases their business depended on. Carmen reflected how she had been initially sympathetic towards her colleague, but had become frustrated with the constant absences and lacklustre approach to detail.
Carmen remembered the Drama Triangle and realised that when she was in her marriage, she had fallen into the position of Victim feeling persecuted by her ex-husband. To her surprise, Carmen realised she was now beginning to have Persecutor thoughts about Alex and wanted to address this.
She was able to realise she had initially Rescued Alex – taking on the more difficult, time-consuming cases while dispensing advice and sympathy – but that had then progressed to her feeling angry, resentful and finally moving to full Persecutor mode.
Carmen told Jennie she regretted moving from Rescuer (which felt nicer) to Persecutor (which reminded her of her ex-husband), but Jennie explained that neither position was superior as both reinforce the other person’s Victim status.
Carmen chose to deal with her situation by asking Alex what she really needed help with. Her fellow solicitor went away to think about it and came back asking if she could officially reduce her working hours and be given less complex work as she found it too taxing.
This opened up a dialogue about what could be done at work more generally, including Alex finding others in the organisation to give her support. Carmen could then decide for herself how involved she wanted to be.
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