Avoiding Drama Trauma - Part 2
Avoiding Drama Trauma - Part 2

Here are some more tips for the savvy leader to learn how to recognize and respond to drama both in themselves and others. (adapted from the book The Drama-Free Office: A Guide to Healthy Collaboration with Your Team, Coworkers and Boss by Jim Warner & Kaley Klemp).  



  • Wants to be in on every decision
  • Impatient with others' learning curves or ideas; resists delegating
  • More task-focused than relationship-focused
  • Becomes angry or frustrated when challenged or confronted

Responses to Controlling Behavior as a Leader

  • Give clear direction and boundaries for them within the context of the congregation's mission
  • Be clear and direct when they violate those boundaries
  • Require regular updates on progress
  • Encourage and support them in empowering others
  • Insist on their full support once a decision is made

Responses to a Controlling Leader

  • Make sure they they get credit when it's their due
  • Demonstrate your loyalty and support in helping to serve the congregation's mission
  • Insist on clear agreements about what you are promising to do
  • Respond positively when they delegate or show trust



  • Takes on too many commitments
  • Sacrifices their own health or wellbeing for the congregation
  • Rushes in to fix or take over the minute someone is struggling -- doesn't allow others to grow and learn in the struggle
  • Sets poor boundaries

Responses to Caretaking as a Leader

  • Coach them to set good boundaries, for themselves and others
  • Spend time on coaching -- help them to see how their overcommitment doesn't serve the mission
  • Help them find healthy ways to caretake (e.g. writing thank-you notes) without overfunctioning
  • Help to create an atmosphere where struggle and mistake-making in service of learning is encouraged

Responses to a Caretaking Leader

  • Offer to take on specific tasks with clear limits and regular reports back to them
  • Articulate and hold your own boundaries
  • Model and call attention to your own practice of self-care
  • Be supportive when they do set boundaries or say no to a new project

About the Author

  • Rev. Renee Ruchotzke (ruh-HUT-skee) has served as a Congregational Life Consultant in the Central East Region since September of 2010. She serves congregation in Northeast Ohio and Western New York. She is part of the LeaderLab Design team providing Leadership Development resources and other trainings to congregations.

For more information contact conglife@uua.org.

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