Jekyll and Hyde

Authentic. When you hear this word, what’s your first thought? Probably, the classic definition: “not false or copied; genuine; real.”

But there is another use: “entitled to acceptance or belief because of agreement with known facts or experience; reliable; trustworthy.”

So it’s not enough to be real and without artifice. You also have to be real consistently.

Why? Because clients (and bosses and coworkers and family members) are happiest when they get what they expect. Jekyll and Hyde moments do not go down well.

Think about it. You’re in the midst of a stress-charged meeting. All of a sudden, your natural directness (which your client highly values) turns snarky. Your quick wit emerges as cheeky. Your commanding presence becomes domineering. Before you know it, you’ve become Mr. Hyde.

We can morph to the dark side in a heartbeat. If we recover quickly (and make a sincere apology), we can often save and perhaps even deepen the relationship. If not? Toast.

The solution is simple. The greater the stress meter (yours or your client’s), the more deliberate your words and actions. A little forethought goes a long way.

Keep Mr. Hyde in check.


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