Article: Frenemy: 5 ways to make your work enemy your friend

Employee Relations

Frenemy: 5 ways to make your work enemy your friend

Not all people can be your friends at work. But a workable relationship with your work enemy is important for the organization's success. So how do you deal with them?
Frenemy: 5 ways to make your work enemy your friend

When Vivek joined one of the FMCG companies six months back, he immediately realised that he made the right decision since the role is challenging and has a great scope in future. He got all the support from the manager, his colleagues were also encouraging. But there was one glitch. The more he attained success, the more his ‘friends’ at work started to talk behind his back. Soon he realised that while his ‘stardom’ at work got him appreciation from his superiors, he was making his team-mates uncomfortable. The best solution he got from one of his close friends was ‘just avoid them’. Well, it was easier said than done for Vivek. 

Like Vivek, we have also (most of us) been in this kind of situation, where we don’t always end up working with the best-friend-at-work forever. At work, it becomes little difficult for a person like Vivek to work in silos, and nobody can’t. Everyone in the company is looking at the far bigger picture – which is the company’s success. And each and every employee’s collaborative effort is essential for that. So what should you do to make things ‘workable’ for the organizational success. 

Here are some ways you can turn the tide:

Shed that attitude, and embrace differences

So why you, and not him? The answer is simple. The more proactive you are towards solving issues, the other person will himself/herself see the need to at least come to a ‘workable’ relationship. Because the foe-at-work also thinks that you are one colleague who’s impossible to work with. It’s essential to break the chain. And that’s why it is also important for you to believe that differences exist – may it be for how you work, or for any other issues. So accepting that there are differences will ensure you have taken a step towards mitigating the problems. 

Spend time

Accepting the differences, you have taken a step towards knowing that person. You must be thinking that this is the weirdest tip ever. But come to think of it. Spending less time will lead to complete incommunicado while for the benefit of a project/work, it is essential you need his inputs. And working with a person becomes easy if we happen to know how the other person reacts, how he solves problems, aligns his ideas with the bigger picture. It helps in solving the ego hassles, and creates an environment which is of collaboration rather than confusion. And you might end up knowing some common interests you share. That’s some starting point!

Don’t talk about them to others

The bad blood is already there. And you don’t want to spit venom about it to others. It’s easy to criticize a person who you don’t like at work. However, that just increases the difficulty in working. Also it shows your insensitivity in handling an issue. You might consider talking this out with your superior (just to know how you should deal with it), and it should never be about why you don’t like him/her. Your manager should not get the idea that you are not willing to adjust.

Be kind

There are ways to be kind to your critics at work. When you try and solve one of their problems, then it also opens a door for future conversations. It might not come naturally to you to help someone who doesn’t really care about your work. But it surely is a starter since that will show that you are eager to work in consultation with others, and you give importance to others’ suggestions too. Ask them if they need assistance in any of the projects they are working on, and at first they might just ask you to mind your own business, but if they see that honesty in which you seek to help them out, they will come and be flexible to your needs as well.

You might be the master at what you do at work. You can survive and deal with all kinds of challenges. However, just asking your work enemy to be part of your plan, ask them for opinions, involving them in your ideas – you might be able to pull off that project far more at ease. 

Having a one-on-one

Start a conversation. Just block their calendar, and talk to them. Have a chat with them about the challenges you are facing, and how you need their help in solving the bigger issues at work. And if this involves in getting them onboard in one of your projects, then do that. That will mean that you are beginning to trust them, and work for the benefit of the organization’s success. 

It’s important to steer clear of the bad feelings right at the start. The idea is not to make them like you, but to eventually have a workable relationship so that it at the end it’s a win-win for all. 

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Topics: Employee Relations, Watercooler

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