In April 2015, I wrote a blog questioning, “Why Should You Keep Your Friends Close and Your Enemies Closer?” With an excess of 28,000 reads of that post, it obviously identified a real need of a great many people. The post provided a rationale for the issue, not least that you can learn a lot from people you dislike, gain a different perspective and make it easier for your allies to work with you. But it only addressed strategies for working with enemies and difficult people in a cursory fashion.
Near as I can tell, there are two vocations that absolutely require a person to keep their enemies closer just to keep their job: elected politicos and Protestant church ministers. However, most business people recognize early on that they’re going to have to work with “enemies,” people they don’t especially like or trust--or pay the price in performance and sometime job loss.
So how can you keep your enemies closer?
First, confronting your enemies is usually a waste of time and a bad conversational move. They’ve got their views and in a high percentage of cases you’re not going to change their mind anyway. You may feel good by confronting them, but that won’t make the problem go away. Sure, there are occasions when confrontation is useful, but they are rare. And sometimes confronting another is a form of suicide.
Furthermore. . .