Its hard to miss the drama in a conservative work environment where things are relatively calm. Granted there are pressures and tensions at the office, but nothing compares to the constant barrage of theatrics. One person seems to stand out in suggestive appearance, inappropriate behavior, and a need to be the center of attention.

In modern culture, these people are frequently called drama queens. But in psychology, they are labeled with a Histrionic Personality Disorder. A personality disorder is pervasive, meaning it exists in all environments including work, home, and community. Individuals who fall into this category seem to have a constant flow of drama following them everywhere. Some of it is outside of their influence, but some are the result of poor judgment.

Here are six ways the characteristics of a Histrionic Personality Disorder may manifest themselves in work settings:

  1. Validation A Histrionic personality has an insatiable need for approval from co-workers and supervisors. This manifests by being easily influenced in order to gain even more approval.
  2. Tasks Has great initial enthusiasm for projects but lacks follow-through. Usually, this PD (personality disorder) will begin a task highly motivated and committed but has difficulty finishing when the excitement dies down. Their need for immediate gratification causes them to become agitated at any delay.
  3. Relationships Quickly attaches and clings to co-workers calling them their best friend when the feeling is not reciprocal. Often co-workers will avoid them in an attempt to set better boundaries. A Histrionic PD will seek out the excitement of new relationships and abandon old ones.
  4. Day-to-day Histrionics are impulsive and like to engage in risk-taking behavior. They are easily bored with routine and jobs that perform the same tasks over and over. They tend to act out to gain attention and when it is not received, they act out even more. This results in depression when they are not the center of things.
  5. Responses This PD is sensitive to stressful environments, worries excessively are flippant with responsibilities, and lacks specific detail in speaking. They can be emotionally expressive and manipulative, but also very shallow and fake.
  6. Ethics Engages in inappropriate seductive behavior with people who are in other relationships or where there is a potential for conflict such as employer/employee. They use their physical appearance to sexually attract others, wear revealing clothing, and then will follow through with promiscuous behavior.

Because of this behavior, many Histrionics do not last too long in a job – which can be a shame because they tend to be highly creative. Their energy level and enthusiasm can be exciting to be around. While it may seem they work better in unstructured environments, too much flexibility can invite even more risk-taking behavior. They function well in environments where the rules are constantly reinforced and there are frequent rewards.