Learn about the importance of having many friends and few enemies. Learn how to be liked by as many people as possible, which includes suppliers, customers, and competitors. Be a great listener. Be helpful, give compliments, and offer to help.
- To be in the best position for any changes like restructurings that might come up in the future, any changes that you can't possibly foresee, you would ideally have the best relationships possible with everyone that you deal with. One of these people might be your new boss next month, or some of them might be your new teammates, or they might have the ability to influence decisions about you for the better, or for the worse. Or at the very least, you might all be in the same boat together, and they could form a support system for you and you for them.
So, the first thing is to always be nice, be everybody's friend, be liked by as many people as possible, and certainly don't make any enemies. I've been in companies where you had to make enemies because you had to take sides. Are you with us or against us? And results could only be achieved through politics and usually a degree of backstabbing, or at least scoring points in meetings. But I'm hoping that you're not in a place like this. And even if you are, maybe you can rise above it and be a genuinely nice person who does a great job.
If you can, that would certainly be best because when things change, you never know if your current enemies are going to be in positions of power. So, the fewer enemies you have, the better, even apparently unimportant enemies who don't have any power at the moment. And even in situations which are traditionally difficult or confrontational like dealing with your suppliers, it's easy to treat their salespeople badly when you've had a problem with something from them, or when they come in to sale you something and you're a bit busy and you don't feel that you need them at the moment.
Or how about when you're dealing with customers who might be giving you a hard time trying to get you down in price, can you still remain patient and nice when you're interacting with them? Or when you're dealing with competitors, who knows, you might be apply for a job there next year. Can you be the nicest person that they deal with? In all of these situations, you can still be firm and professional and still get the best deal you can, but can you also be liked? I think it can be done, and I think, if you can do it, you then have many more options if something fundamental changes at some point in the future.
So, how do we become everybody's friend? Well, two main things, I'd say. First, be a great listener. Be interested in other people and take a bit of time to ask them things and to really listen to the answers. Try to understand what it's like for your suppliers or people in other departments, or people who work for your competitors. The more you can find out about their worlds, the better. You'll get a better result for your business, as well as being liked more by them.
And second, to go one step further and offer to help people whenever you can. I know this costs a bit of time, but think of it as an investment. You'll enjoy helping them, you'll learn from it, and they'll be more likely to help you one day when you need it. You can certainly help other departments at work, and helping suppliers and customers has to be a good idea. And I think, even helping your competitors sometimes when it doesn't affect your company adversely, then why not? It's about building bridges for the future.
So, do you have any enemies? Do you have a habit of making enemies? Have you been drawn into a world of politics and taking sides? How combative are you at meetings? Do you tell yourself that this is necessary to get results, but is it really? Do you tell yourself that the people you upset aren't important? And are you sure about that? And how nice are you? Would most people say that you were their friend? Could you be better at asking people questions and at listening, and are there more situations where you could offer to help? Make it your plan, from now on, to be the most popular person in the company.
It'll be useful in the future, but also, you'll enjoy it.
- Why we dislike change
- Planning for change
- Developing mental toughness
- Maximizing your interpersonal skills
- Setting long-term career goals
- Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone
- What to consider if you're thinking of leaving your job
- Building up your network
- How to be low maintenance employee
- Establishing goals and plans with a new boss
- How to deal with a bad boss