One way you can get out of your way is to name your gremlin. A gremlin in this sense is a self-defeating behavior that reappears in life, work, and relationships that prevents you from achieving a new level of success. Like in the movie by the same name, gremlins usually are latent and easy to live with until they are activated by external or internal factors, either past, present, or perceived future. Naming them can help you to be aware of your self-defeating behavior so you may make intentional decisions that are edifying and rewarding to all involved. The introductory article to this series is at Get Out of Your Own Way.
I am sure you have worked with or for a person with a Jekyll and Hyde gremlin. As long as you are dealing with Jekyll everything is okay, but that’s the problem. The occasional and unexpected appearance of …Hyde! It’s like a box of chocolates…you never know what you’re going to get. Quite a few years ago I worked for a small company as a production manager. The owner/boss was a good man to work for…most days, but then there were the times when he suddenly changed. His explosive behavior was usually over something relatively small but the damage he caused was enormous. A day or two after the event, he would often apologize. If he happened to fire someone while Hyde was in control, he might try to rehire them. This is the classic profile of a spouse or child abuser whose reaction to something fails to qualify as a proportional response and they are sorry afterwards.
The perspective of this article is less how to work with a person with this, or these gremlins, and more about helping yourself if you discover Jekyll and Hyde in yourself. Here are some quick tips:
- You will know you have a Jekyll and Hyde gremlin when others tell you that you are your worst enemy, you are difficult to work with, or that people never know “who” to expect when they see you.
- Hire an executive coach. There are three reasons you need a professional coach:
- You need a coach to increase your awareness of signals of which to be aware so you may control Hyde.
- When Hyde appears, you will hurt people and your relationship with them. You need a coach to advise you on how to fix relationships.
- Learn what triggers the emotional reaction that stimulates the appearance of Hyde. I can’t help but feel we are talking about the Incredible Hulk.
- Practice presence. You will find that Hyde’s appearance is usually preceded by distractions, concerns, and a lack of focus. One way to minimize Hyde is to be in the room when others are talking. Presence means that you are not emailing or texting when you should be paying attention.
- Keep a journal where you record when Hyde appeared. The problem is that Jekyll may have difficulty remembering what Hyde said or did.
- Don’t use Hyde as an excuse for bad behavior.
An executive coach is a valuable asset to help you minimize damage to relationships and is well worth the investment.
- How have you recognized Hyde in your life in the past?
- Have you found that you sabotage yourself repeatedly?
- How might a professional coach help you recognize and get rid of Hyde?
Dr. Tom Cocklereece, The Disciplist
This article is a revision of a previous post on my coaching blog site RENOVA Coaching
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