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.