Always a "Jack" or "Jill" - Your Workplace Nemesis, Part 2
What To Do About Your Jack or Jill?
Every Jack or Jill is different. But here's the thing, in every work situation, you are the same. Yes, managing Jack/Jill is first and foremost about managing yourself. First, determine how he/she is affecting you.
- Is it about him and his habits or personality?
- Is she having a direct and negative impact on your job function?
If it's about his/her habits and behaviors, personality and/or idiosyncrasies, examine how you are responding. Are you focusing on Jack or Jill's negative aspects to the exclusion of his or her better qualities? Are you simply giving your Jack or Jill too much bandwidth? Perhaps you're giving him/her too much attention, and maybe that's what your Jack or Jill wants. Here are some steps to lessen their importance in your world:
- Limit your interactions with him/her.
- If you can't limit your interactions, work at dialing down your irritation. If she/she is not affecting your job performance, then maybe you can think of him/her as a room that is painted in an ugly color. You may not like going in there, but ultimately, it won't harm you.
- Don't try to change your Jack or Jill. They are who they are, and attempting to transform them will be a waste of time unless they acknowledge that they need and want to change.
- Build your relationships with the colleagues you enjoy and respect.
- Focus on doing your job. Ultimately, that's what you've been hired to do, whether there's a Jack or Jill or not.
If Jack is directly affecting your job function and performance, you will have to be more strategic. The super competitive Jill may need to be beaten at her own game, which may require a fair amount of effort on your part. Or sometimes such Jills can be transformed into collaborators, providing opportunities for you both to shine. The Jack who is constantly sucking up to your boss may need to feel needed. Maybe you can't be the one to provide that satisfaction for him, but someone else on your team may want Jack to be their mentor or to otherwise take some control. If Jill is the report who can never get it right, but is immune from being fired, you will need to develop a work-around. Bottom line is that you cannot rely on her all of the time, so to the extent it is possible, remove yourself from needing her assistance. Yes, that may mean taking on more work for yourself, or distributing some of her responsibilities to your work team. However, you will feel more control over your situation if you are not feeling dependant upon, then let down by Jill.
As you get to know your Jack or Jill or Max or Allie or Shondra or Marcus, over time you will develop skills that will enable you to manage her/him and you will shape the way you respond, both tactically and internally.
By the way, there are plenty of great Jacks and Jills, to name just a few: Singer/Actor Jill Scott; Educator and Vice-Presidential spouse, Jill Biden; Author/Activist Jack Kerouac; Comedian/Actor Jack Black.
See the related post, Always a "Jack" or "Jill" - Your Work Nemesis, Part 1