Archivo de octubre/2011

13
Oct

There is no such thing as friends at work… or is there?

Escrito el 13 octubre 2011 por Alberto Andreu en Varios

How many times have you felt surprised or, putting it more strongly, betrayed at work by someone that you considered a friend? “I just couldn’t imagine it”. A friend told me some time ago: “I never thought that this person, someone I had helped out countless times, someone that relied on me in both his personal and professional life for more than 10 years… was incapable of defending me. I don’t understand it” -he repeated nearly in tears-.“He was my friend”.

My response was clear: “There are no friends at work,” I told him, “You can have a close, complicated or even trusting relationship. However, believe me: only when you leave the company will you know you your friends really are. If, after leaving, you maintain contact, trust and the relationship, then you were really friends”.

So, this is the question: Is it possible to care for, maintain and keep friendships in the workplace jungle? To answer this question let me give you two premises and two small pieces of advice.

Two Premises:

1.      Work is work. Personal interest and internal competition play an important part in working relationships. Everyone that works wants to have his or her area of responsibility, whether great or small; to be noticed once in a while; be recognised as the author of something. Admit it, we all like to get a pat on the back and be told that we are clever.

This is something good: the absence of competition generates organisations and individuals without initiative because… why should I work harder if I’m not going to earn more?  On the other hand, too much competition could generate mercenary and self-destructive organisations, where anything goes and the ends justify the means. In this atmosphere it isn’t unusual to see different divisions of the same company steal clients from each other just to come out better in the annual photo.

2.      People are just that: people. Good people or bad people, don’t matter on which side of the table people are (near or in front of you). When you are working, don’t confuse collaboration with friendship; this is nothing to do with friendship but rather mutual interest. If you think like this, then you won’t end up with nasty surprises or thinking that someone has betrayed you, nor will you take things as a personal affront.

Two small pieces of advice.

1.      Don’t work looking for friendship, but for mutual respect and trusting relationship. To do so, put your legitimate interests and the rules of the game on the table clear from the beginning; openly state the objectives of your project; and understand the objectives (and the dilemmas) of your colleague’s project. Only then you can share common objectives. And it’s not a question of friendship; it’s a question of respect.

2.      If conflicts arise, act as you would like others to act towards you: work towards solving the problem, don’t cheat, and keep your word. I know that sometimes it is difficult to fulfil commitments with your colleagues, bosses or subordinates (this is the collateral effect of internal competition).  If this is the case, you would like the person with whom you reached an agreement call you and explain why it didn’t happen, that they tried their hardest and could do it. If that is what you would like, then you should also do things in the same way.

So, as you can see, in the end it is simple to construct a relationship of understanding and mutual respect if you apply these rules in your relationships. If you have clear principles, you will find that it is simple to apply them. From here… who knows? Maybe, as Bogart said to Captain Renault in Casablanca… this is the start of a beautiful friendship

Let me invite you to visit my blog AlbertoAndreu.com

2
Oct

How to manage enemies at work

Escrito el 2 octubre 2011 por Alberto Andreu en Competencias RRHH

Some time ago, I stumbled upon the following quotation: “It is sad to have no friends, but it is worse to have no enemies, because if a person has no enemies it is likely that they have: no talent that overshadows others, a personality that leaves no impression, no value to be feared, they are not worth gossiping about, have no belongings worth coveting, nor anything good that causes jealousy.” They are nothing.

Do you know who said that phrase? It’s by José Martí, the poet and father of Cuban independence. When I read it, I admit I was alarmed. But later I realised that it contained, in essence, a hot topic within organizations: if you want to survive you must manage your enemies.  Let’s see how we can do it:

  1. Assume that from this moment: you already have a small number of enemies. Even if you are completely at peace and secure in the knowledge that you have nothing against, and have not done anything to wrong, anyone.  The causes of these grudges can be as diverse as people themselves. Envy in one: José Martí, with infinite precision, said that envy is in the cause of all grievances; envy of talent, personality, of worth, of honour, of possessions or of anything else a person could have. Self-esteem might be another good way to increase the list of enemies. In this regard we could list thousands of examples (Mozart and Salieri), but it is not necessary.
  2. Keep enemies close to you. There are some people who think that the farther away an enemy is the better. However, remember one thing: is it not easier to predict the actions of someone next to you, than try to guess the movements of someone you cannot see? If you don’t believe me, you only have to realise that the world was safer before than it is now. Before, there was a great enemy, institutionalised and official. Now, nobody knows where the problems can come from. Therefore, you should never close off ways for dialogue, directly or through third parties, with those who are your enemies.
  3. Making peace” with some people is just a waste of time, the battle is lost before it has begun. It is strange, but, the more you attempt to convince someone that you haven’t done anything; the more you try to be nice; the more you do to fix things… the worse it is. I don’t know why, but this is usually true. Maybe because that attitude on your part stirs up more envy and augments the insecurity of the enemy. That’s why I believe that you shouldn’t waste your energy trying to fix things with some people.  
  4. Put the conflict to bed, or, in sporting parlance, calm the game down. As the saying goes, time heals everything, and additionally, as Spanish Nobel Prize Camilo José Cela said, usually “the person who lasts the longest, wins”.
  5. Indifference or ignoring them is another good way to combat your enemies. Don’t “fall in the trap”, don’t get involved in small fights; remember that the excesses of your enemies should be like “the buzzing of flies” as Mika Waltari put it in his book The Egyptian.

 And there you have my thoughts on the existence of enemies. As the saying goes “whoever has a friend has something to treasure”. But, maybe, having a good enemy is not such a bad thing. A friend of mine said “a good enemy dignifies you”. Maybe it makes you stronger when facing others, a better speaker, colder and more thoughtful. And, in addition, forgive them. Oscar Wilde put it well saying: “Always forgive your enemies. There is nothing that annoys them more.”

Let me invite you to visit my blog  AlbertoAndreu.com

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