You know the type. They grow up and become the Nurse Ratcheds of bureaucracies everywhere. As keepers of the rules, maintaining the status quo is their art form. Sometimes, “he/she who must be obeyed” makes manipulation their stock in trade.
So how do you neutralize the influence of a hall monitor? It took a lobotomy and a feather pillow for Jack Nicholson to escape. Surely there are other options….
Isolate them. Keep them on a short leash and avoid giving them the power to impact your work. Caveat: if they are a critical link to your project, this is a recipe for disaster. He/she who must be obeyed will find a way to sabotage your project if they’re feeling unappreciated.
Charm them. Hall monitors want love too. If you listen carefully, make them feel heard and give them a detailed job that suits their nature, you can s-l-o-w-l-y get them to engage. The right balance of appreciation and tough love could convert them into solid team players.
Kiss them good-bye. If sustained charm didn’t work, it’s time to cut the hall monitor loose. Whether it’s your client, your boss, your teammate, they will be a major energy suck to you AND your team. Let them go.
Life is too short to spend it wishing for a lobotomy.