Aug 05, 2015


Latina Cubicle Confidential™: Drama Queens Beware—Your Throne is Not at Work!

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Sometimes you can hear it down the hall, in the break room or (gasp!) in the cubicle next to you—a drama queen’s melt-down in the making.  Someone didn’t show her the final report before it got emailed.  No one told her about the new charts that were added.  Whatever the reason, the drama queen can take center stage quickly and begin a tirade that could win an Oscar.  They sulk openly. They storm out of offices in a huff. Men can do this, too.  But if no one has mentioned it yet—there are very different standards for who can get emotional at work.

For women in general, an all out rant at work or the ultimate–crying at work—can often be a devastating career move.   And for Latinas– who are often attributed with everything from being exotic to vivacious–creating an emotional outburst at work can make a career spiral beyond recovery.

Film and Broadway star, Rita Moreno, once described all Latinos as dramatic and then affectionately referred to her own Puerto Rican culture as pathologically dramatic.  Latin American cultures—from Mexico to Nicaragua to Brazil to Chile—have a unique taste for every morsel of life and we have a great deal of comfort with the fullest range of emotions. We celebrate hard, we grieve openly, we are truly comfortable with a full range of emotions. None of this can be taken from us, nor should it. However in the workplace, Latinas need to be authentic and effective.   We can use our full range of skills and emotions to have mastery over the work we do without evoking emotions that can undermine our leadership.

So are you the drama queen at work?  If you find yourself spiraling out of control with your emotions at work this will truly undermine your potential and you’ll want to rebuild your personal brand – soon!

Initially however, you’ll need focus on looking at all that drama in the past and ask yourself:  What does this do for me? At home it may have allowed you to get a lot of attention or allowed you to win arguments which is fine for your family but at work, the rules are different.  When others can see what gets under your skin, in essence “they have your number” and they can dial you into an argument when you least expect it – undermining your role.

Being the drama queen at work is also time consuming and distracting which is often a great way to distract people from the real issues that need to be addressed.  Once again, this may work at home but in today’s fast place workplace your drama will likely land you in HR with recommendations to work through your differences with your colleagues.

Staying calm or keeping cool under pressure is one of many leadership attributes to cultivate for advancement in today’s workforce.  If you are struggling with this, look at what kind of situations most likely lead to you losing control.  Depending on the patterns you discover, it might mean that you take time to improve your project management, communication, and delegation skills so that you prevent problems from happening in your interactions with colleagues.  You may also need to learn how to hit the “pause” button in your reactions to events around you.  If it’s counting to 10 or counting to 100.  It’s not possible to work with a team of individuals without eventually facing disappointment or frustration.

You do have a choice about what you do with that disappointment – making it bigger than it needs to be isn’t in your favor.  Tell me about how you’ve managed your drama at Latina Cubicle Confidential™ or visit me live at the next LatinaVIDA



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Dr. Maria G. Hernandez has 20 years experience consulting in both the United States and Mexico to senior executives in Fortune 50 companies and facilitated change initiatives for elected officials and their staff. She has worked in academia, business, nonprofits, technology startups, and public agencies. Visit the Latina Cubicle Confidential™ Facebook (link below) or join Dr. Hernandez live at the next LatinaVIDA™-Visibility, Identity, Direction, Action.

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