In business, we all have them. Enemies. Rivals. Adversaries.
Foes. They say bad things to others behind our backs. They prevent us from
succeeding in our work. Some act passive aggressively by ignoring us.
You know who they are. Have a few names in mind?
Question: What's the quickest way to get one of these
archenemies to like you?
Answer: Get them to do you a small favor.
Let me explain.
It sounds counter-intuitive but it can be explained easily by
what social psychologists call Cognitive Dissonance Theory. The theory predicts
that we all try to maintain consistency in our attitudes and behaviors. When we
do a person a favor (the behavior), we tend to like them more as a result (the
This phenomenon is also known as "The Ben Franklin Effect."
Franklin said in his autobiography, "Enemies who do you one favor will want to
do more." A political opponent in the Pennsylvania state legislature was
annoying Franklin and he set out to win him over. He asked this adversary if he
could borrow a rare book in his library. According to Franklin, when they next
met in the House, the adversary spoke to him for the first time "with great
civility." He added that they eventually became great friends.
All employees need cooperation from their coworkers in order
to succeed at their jobs. Without respect, they won't receive the cooperation
they need to be effective. Senior management can promote the importance of
teamwork until they are blue in the face, but employees must respect one
another to work together effectively.
TOP OF PAGE
WHAT TO DO
Here is the Ben Franklin method that individual employees and
managers can use to get their enemies to like them.
- Identify Your Enemy
Think of the individuals who are preventing
you from succeeding at your work. It could be a coworker, subordinate, boss,
employee from another part of the company, or even a customer.
- Ask For a Small Favor
The favor should require the adversary to
expend some effort, although it shouldn't be a Herculean task.
- Proceed As If You Are No Longer Enemies
If your future interactions with this person
are to be positive, you must behave toward them as if they are a colleague and
not an adversary. Otherwise, your attitudes may negate their newly gained
feelings of good will toward you and, instead, perpetuate the ill-will they
felt in the past.
Take a lesson from Ben Franklin and the Cognitive Dissonance
Theory. If your work enemies are making it difficult for you, ask them for a
favor. Give it a try. You might be pleasantly surprised.
I am very much
interested in your views on this topic.
Please reply with your comments and
suggestions to .
TOP OF PAGE
material is © copyright , Discovery Surveys, Inc.,