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Shake the hand that bites you

Sharpen your ‘enemy management skills’

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in Leaders & Managers,Management Training

There’s no escaping difficult, dastardly or downright nasty people at work. There’s always at least one of them floating around.

While you can’t control someone’s horrible personality, you can decide how you’re going to respond. That means polishing your EMS— enemy management skills. By killing enemies with kindness, or at least freeing yourself of constant rage and resentment, you can rise above their noxious influence. Here’s how:

Gain cooperative power. Force yourself to cooperate with your adversaries. Look for ways to help them achieve goals, overcome obstacles or manage their least favorite chore. Example: Suggest a time-saving step so that they can avoid paperwork.

It may strike you as counter-intuitive to make your enemies’ lives easier. But by helping them, you gain power over them. Once they realize that you possess wisdom or experience that can directly benefit them, you’ll wield more leverage.

Consider the advice of Peter Drucker, the dean of management thinkers: “Adversarial power relationships work only if you never have to see or work with the bastards again.”

Ratchet down the rancor. You hate someone at work. Enough said. Don’t waste time complaining to colleagues. The more you talk about your fury and disgust, the more you’ll foment ill will.

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