Turn Adversaries into Allies

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Anyone who has faced rivals at work — bosses who take all the credit, team members who undermine things — knows how difficult it is to ignore them. Instead, turn your adversaries into collaborators by following these three steps:

  • Redirect. Try to channel your rival’s negative emotions away from you by bringing up something you have in common, or talking about the source of the tension in a favorable light.
  • Reciprocate. Give up something of value to your rival — help complete a project or divulge important information — so you are poised to ask for something in return.
  • Reason. Explain that not working together cooperatively could mean lost opportunities. Most people are highly motivated to avoid a loss.

Adapted from “Make Your Enemies Your Allies” by Brian Uzzi and Shannon Dunlap.

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