Everyone makes enemies unintentionally. Someone says something you strongly disagree with, you respond a bit too quickly and before you know it things have gone pear-shaped.
What I find much harder to understand is why some people go out of their way to make enemies. In particular control freak managers. These are, after all, generally risk-averse and rational people so why should they do something that seems to only cause problems?
The people they make enemies of appear to be those that resist or defy them, or possibly even just disagree with them. On the surface this looks like straightforward ego, which surprises me since surely they would have their ego under control.
But I’ve begun to realise that this may be an inescapable side effect of being a control freak.
For the rest of us, if we encounter someone who strongly disagrees then we try to find out what their position is. We share our position and this starts the process of discussion, negotiation and dialogue. Crucially the end result of this process is often a new position that both can accept – in essence a compromise.
However, to a control freak this is basically failure. The whole point about being a control freak is that they have their position and that is that. Negotiation and compromise are alien concepts. If anything they are a sign of weakness.
So when presented with a person who refuses to bow to the control, no matter what techniques are used, then this elicits a response of “does not compute”. This person is then quickly labelled as an enemy and the backup process of isolating and discrediting them begins.
But deliberately making enemies is a very risky strategy. Career paths are completely unpredictable and someone you make an enemy of today is someone you may be beholden to tomorrow.
3 thoughts on “Making enemies”
I have come across so many control freaks in my life (including my own mother). I can’t understand what makes one a control freak, since I am not one. What is the reason one feels the need to control other people?
Response to Wendy Miller:
“What is the reason one feels the need to control other people?”
Fear that S/He has no control over her/his life. These people stubbornly refuse to accept the reality of existence: that other people, events, and sundry phenomenon are constantly impacting their lives in large, small, or insignificant ways. They prefer to believe that they ultimately have control over the outcome/consequences of their actions, rather than accepting that the end result of their (or anyone’s) behavior has limitless consequences/impact on others, which are totally out of their ability to control.
They rationalize that whatever they do to persue their own interests is paramount to their own happiness, but ignore the fact that selfish pursuit reaps both negative and positive returns.
In short, a control freak is functioning on the emotional level of a toddler.
If you are working for a control freak, don’t bother giving suggestions that would improve the workplace procedures, etc. They will resist and you will wonder why anyone would not want to give something a try when the procedure in place is not working. You may even know from experience that what you are suggesting would be really helpful but it’s never about the workplace procedures, or anything else. If they are in a position of power, it’s about them and there is only 1 person that runs the show, good, bad or indifferent. You are a just a shadow. Agree with their way even if you don’t. You might adapt or decide find a different job. If you want to run things differently because you know you are as capable than this person, get whatever education or experience you need so that things can be done your way. Remember also that when the control freak goes against his superiors and resists them (which he will never do) then he will be out!
These people don’t realize that others work there too and contribute.