In my previous post, I presented Oscar Wilde’s concept of choosing your enemies and how that choice can drastically effect your relationships between colleagues in the work place. Today, I’m going to dive deeper into choosing your enemies, along with how and why it’s important not only to actually choose one, but to choose the right one; but please make sure you take a gander at the previous article before going further or you might just think that I come off and vengeful.
The first critical factor when choosing your enemies to understand that it truly is a conscious choice. Wilde wasn’t trying to be a smartass when saying “You can never be too careful in the choice of your enemies”, he was honestly trying to get us to realize that’s having enemies is a choice. Understand that an enemy (try to keep the quantity to a mininum) is a slightly more sinister name for competition. Everyone needs competition because life is a competition and your career is life’s tournament – that’s a whole ‘nother blog post- and everyone needs a level of comparison. A level of competition such as an enemy serves not only as a reflection of your level of work, but also an example of either what or what not to do to get ahead. They also serve as the perfect method of motivation. There is no better way to motivate a human being (or two) than to put them next to each other and say “go”. So by accepting an enemy or competition, you create not only a way to compare your current work against another, but it also serves as motivation to do better in your position, to beat the other guy at the same game.
Next, be mindful of who you make enemies with, that too is a conscious choice. You never want to be enemies with your boss for obvious reasons but you also do not want to be enemies with someone from a completely different department in your company. Why? There is way no compare yourself to them because you don’t do the same job and they will forever have leverage on you because of that. For example: If you have become enemies with the accountant and you are a salesman, you’ll never win because every transaction you make, whether it be a sale or expense report, must go through your accountant before it goes to your boss, so they will always be making you look bad. See my previous post, “Where’s My Money?” if you need help dealing with your company’s accountant(s). By making enemies with someone from a different department, you are putting your credibility in their hands. It’s important to have an enemy who you can literally compete with. If you’re in marketing, your enemy should be too. If you’re a salesman, so is your enemy. This way, you have a direct comparison or level of measure you can rate yourself against. It’s impossible for them to have any real leverage on you because you both do the same job and your credibility cannot be manipulated by anyone other than you and the work you’ve done.
My final word of advice for dealing with your enemy, is to keep emotion out of it! No one has ever was as much as a game of checkers by doing so with their emotion. When competing with your enemy, you need to make calculated, strategic moves in order to ensure your success. Any actions as a result of emotion will ruin your credibility and are looked upon as a character flaw. Your boss doesn’t want to employ the hosts of The View, he/she wants a machine: a smart, calculated and confident individual who thinks before they act. You do not want your judgement clouded by anger for our enemy, stay ice cold and more importantly, beat them at their own game. You do not want your emotions running your actions to create a coup against this person. Remain cool and in control to defeat your enemy with the weapons of your trade, not of your emotion.
Choosing an enemy is about an fun and inevitable as dental surgery. But if you choose wisely and act only with calculated thought, your enemy or competition can easily vanquished; at which point you’ll have been promoted to a new enemy. Good luck!