Villain, Victim, Rescuer – Which Role Do You Play?!


Good Thursday morning! I hope you have had a good week so far. Three things today: gratefulness, “The P Rules” — some tips to improve your team meetings and presentations, and finally, a lesson from the road.
First, what are you grateful for this morning? (Pause . . . to let you think.) I happen to be really thankful for my eyesight this morning. I have been on the road since Monday and have had some real discomfort with my eyes the past three days. It has reminded me of how glad I am I can see, and how my world would change radically if I couldn’t. Again, what, and who, are you grateful for this morning?
Next, check out “The P Rules.” Mark and Robert Hennessy sent me this list of 7 things to avoid in team meetings or presentations, especially if you are the senior person in the room. Inevitably, at least one of these will apply to you and your team.
And . . . I have spent the first half of this week with my wife Marta and colleague Brad Sytsma, as the two of them have been leading 130 employees of a client organization in “Opening Lines of Communication.” Three hours of training and facilitating discussion on how this company will improve its communication internally and externally with all stakeholders. The participation and feedback have been great.
One of the communication breakdowns Marta and Brad discuss is a dysfunctional conflict pattern known as the Karpman Drama Triangle. This was interesting to me. I often see it show up in organizations where two or more team members really need to be working well together — but aren’t. Karpman’s model describes what happens.
The three roles described in the Triangle are Villain, Victim and Rescuer. The labels are self-explanatory. I have observed CEOs and other senior executives play all three roles. Come to think of it, so have I! We all have the potential to take on one of these roles, depending on the conflict.
I’ve given you the link where you can read more, but the lesson for today, if you see yourself in one of these roles in a conflict at work or home, is to shift your paradigm and respond differently . . .

  • The Villain needs to make clear requests for what they want, but steer clear of punishing, bullying or shaming to get it.
  • The Victim needs to drop their “woe is me” drama and shift to a creative problem-solving approach, focused on outcomes. (“If it is to be, it begins with me.”)
  • And the Rescuer, instead of feeding their ego as hero, should shift to a coaching mode, believing that the Victim is capable, and encouraging Victim and Villain to resolve their differences and work constructively together.

Labor Day is a little over two weeks away ?.  Back to school, back to work. If you are wondering how The McKinnon Group could help you or your organization open lines of communication or change your culture in other ways, shoot me an email and let’s set up a call to discuss. We love helping leaders and their organizations grow.
Enjoy these last dog days of August, and . . .
Lead well.