Ever wonder if people at work think you’re a jerk? Are you dealing with a bunch of jerks at work? Here’s a simple tool to help you stop all this jerkiness!

In my last blog, I wrote:


“The truth is we all play ‘parts’ in our job and sometimes our interpretation of that role – with all the challenges we see ourselves to be up against – sometimes causes us to act in a way that blurs the line for people about who we really are.”


This was a really nice way of saying that sometimes we allow the challenges we face at work to justify us acting like a jerk – but we still want (or expect- oy!) others to see and relate to us “as we really are”.  “As we really are” means 2 things:


  1. as our “good” traits
  2. as our “good” intentions


Of course, most people will pardon isolated incidents of our “bad” behavior – especially if they know and like us.  But if we do this too often, they will start to believe – and then of course – treat us – as we are behaving – like a 1st class jerk.


So how do you avoid blurring this line for people?  Actually, you’ll do it naturally when you stop succumbing to triggers that easily distort your thinking into believing that acting like a jerk is the way to go to react to a stressor.  So that means – understanding 2 things:


  1. our stress/fear triggers
  2. our “who we really are” intentions (what we want and what we think that will achieve for another/others)


Intentions are a powerful and funny thing because they may or may not be obvious to us but we innately believe they are always virtuous/right/noble – and that others should get them about us – even when we don’t get them ourselves.


Typically when we can see how what we want will benefit another/others – they usually are virtuous/right/noble and things will typically fall in line nicely for us to accomplish our goal.  When we can only see how what we want will benefit ourself or create some degree of upset for another – even if it is an “appropriately justified” retaliation – we come across jerk-y – and challenges or trouble of some form or another often follows.


The same is also going on for those we think are jerks.


As I said in my last blog, “…no one wants to go to work and despise the people they interact with – especially not their boss…”


So, ever wonder if people at work think you’re a jerk?   Are you dealing with a bunch of jerks at work?  Here’s a simple tool to help you stop all this jerkiness!


This tool is something you can do quickly and inexpensively that can shed some light on how you might want to try interacting with someone you may have found challenging to deal with.  It’s a tool you can use to help you understand yourself on another level and in the process you will identify simple strategies you have never thought of for dealing with others as well.


The tool is called The Enneagram.  It’s a personality typing tool that helps you identify a chief mental and emotional concern that influences ways of thinking, behavior, communication style, emotional triggers, beliefs and ways of interacting with others that distorts who “we really are” (to ourselves and to others).


Understanding your enneagram type can help you to:


  • identify unconscious patters and triggers that often lead you unwittingly into troubling situations (what triggers you to be a jerk)
  • cope better with stressors
  • improve relationships and communication with others (who might be jerks)
  • become more effective and confident in yourself and in dealing with others
  • discover talents and abilities that come easily to you


I have learned to see enneagram type in my clients and it has helped me quickly get at potential motivators and fears that may drive or derail happiness and success for them – it’s just made coaching my clients more effective because I can get at issues and strategies that will work faster for them. 


In my personal life, I immediately identified the type of my husband and 2 children.  This has helped me to see what motivates them and triggers adverse reactions in them.


For example, one simple thing I learned about my daughter’s type is that not being treated as “special or unique” can trigger defensiveness, anger/emotional outbursts or downright depression in her.  When I see her getting caught up in a moment that might go haywire, I use the word “special” with her.  I talk about something I see in her that is “special” or I get her to focus on something “special” she intended (even though things may have gone horribly wrong in her 6 year old mind).  I quickly see her turn her behavior around  – she calms down, she talks with me, she thinks about her intentions and what she did accomplish or what else she can do to get her intention across.  More importantly, we almost always avoid a temper tantrum that would promise total upset in our household.


I never – ever – in my mind would think this simple approach could be a remedy to a developing tantrum in her because achieving a state of “special” is not a trigger for my type – so how could I possibly see this as an effective remedy for another.  I see it now because I understand her type.


In all my years as an employee relations specialist I have found that people “in trouble” at work want to be understood – to be validated.  Show people you understand them and you will win them over to trust and listen to you.  People don’t need or want you to agree with them all the time – but they do ALWAYS want to be heard, understood, and not judged  – to be validated / supported /  authenticated / removed from blame – not thought of or treated like a jerk!


When you can do this for another you will dramatically skyrocket your chance of winning their listening/validation of you and your wants/needs in return.


Try this tool for yourself.  Let me know if you increase your confidence dealing with others and win validation for who you are – who you intend to be for yourself and others!


It’s easy to understand the 9 enneagram types – who you are and who might others you want to be more effective with be!

Take a short version of the test for free at www.enneagraminstitute.com

or check out this book/test by Dr. David Daniels – so easy to do and understand…

The Essential Enneagram by David Daniels and Virginia Price buy the book or take his simple on-line test for $10 at www.enneagramworldwide.com


Want more strategies to help you deal more effectively with your work relationships, call me at 888/560-8233 for a free consultation!


About Gina Calvano

Gina Calvano is a certified coach and Senior Professional in Human Resources, with over 20 years of experience as a talent management professional in both the private and non-profit sectors. With a unique approach, she combines her strategic corporate expertise and accreditations with metaphysics and transformational thinking which has resulted in people all over the world feeling good about themselves and connected to a sense of purpose.

She created the Success Readiness Bootcamp™, a step by step process that enables people to easily discover their unique talents and abilities and match them to majors, jobs, industries and leisure pursuits. Gina is also the co-author of Breakthrough! Inspirational Strategies for an Audaciously Authentic Life with NY Times Best Selling Authors Marci Shimoff, Janet Bray Attwood and Chris Attwood and Powerful Connections Made Easy™ with Aprille Trupiano, and is currently working on her next book — Caged in My Cube: The Turnaround Guide For Loving The Job You Hate.

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