The Jekyll and Hyde manager
Marty was in the server room, working with the consultant from Guaranteed Uptime, when Rob burst in. “Marty, I want you to go over to Jan’s desk right away,” he said. “She’s having trouble with the CMS again.”
“OK Rob, just as soon as I finish here.”
“No! You’ll need to go right away. If she doesn’t get looked after she’ll complain direct to Max. Then he’ll raise a stink about how inefficient IT is.” Rob’s tone was such that even the consultant looked up in askance.
Marty had been through this before. “Yeah Rob, give me five minutes. We’re almost done here.”
“You’d better get down there soon,” he said. Then , turning abruptly, he stomped off slamming the door on his way out.
The consultant looked at Marty, eyebrows raised.
“Don’t ask”, said Marty, and continued with his work.
Less than five minutes later…
“Uh oh,” said Marty sotto voce, as he heard Rob crash in again.
“I thought I told you to go over to Jan. Drop what you’re doing and go…NOW!”
Marty shook his head, and turning to the consultant he said, “I’ll be back in five.” He brushed past Rob and walked out.
The next day, word of Rob’s tantrum got around within the team. Regardless of the urgency of Jan’s problem, the consensus was that Rob’s behaviour was not acceptable. Yet, everyone knew that nothing would change. Rob had joined the company just under a year ago, and had been anxious to make a mark from day one. Obviously he’d succeeded, because although his team didn’t think much of him, senior management seemed to have a different view…
“Hi Max. Everything OK? Anything we can do for you?” asked Rob in a tone of faux sincerity. He’d spied Max entering the IT area and had rushed out to greet him.
“No. It’s all good. You’ve been looking after us very well. Jan mentioned that you sorted out some problems for her double quick yesterday.” He took Rob aside. “Look,” he said, “you’ve been doing a fine job since you took over. It’s been noticed, and even talked about at the recent board meeting. Well done, and keep it going.”
Max’s words sounded like an endorsement to Rob. “After all,” he thought, “if management likes what I’m doing, I must be doing a good job.”
Jekyll and Hyde and managers such as Rob are a fact of corporate life. They are easily recognised by the two faces they present at work – Jekyll to those who they report to and Hyde to those who report to them. Such behaviour enables them to get ahead in the short run but, because they ruin their work relationships in the process, they often lose out in the longer term.
There is another way, of course. That is to get ahead by doing things right. The two are not mutually exclusive, regardless of what Jekyll and Hyde managers may think. It is possible to advance and treat everyone, regardless of their position, with respect and consideration. If done this way, one will advance and also retain the loyalty of those who one may depend on in the future.