Personal feelings & working relationships -Don't cut off your nose to spite your face

Published: Wednesday | December 4, 2013 Comments 0
Glenford Smith, career writer
Glenford Smith, career writer

Glenford Smith, Career Writer

Among the most indispensable skills to attain success in life and pre-eminence in your career is working effectively with people you don't like and who don't like you.

This is especially critical in cases where they have knowledge, experience and competencies you lack, but which you need to leverage for your strategic purposes. Without becoming a master of what I think of as 'strategic alliances of convenience', you cannot get very far in your career and in life.

I'm reminded of this fact as I observe the fascinating political manoeuvrings in the Jamaica Labour Party, following on the heels of Andrew Holness' recent victory to retain his leadership of the party. The burden of this column is not to analyse or pronounce on the relative merits of the positions held by contending factions. Rather, it is to urge you not to make the mistake of believing you can, or should, only work well with people you enjoy a relationship of mutual admiration, or even mutual respect, with.

It's very easy to make this mistake, especially when one's faculties are taken captive by anger, fear, resentment, jealousy, suspicion or desire for revenge. As a personal guard against ever falling prey to this potentially fatal error, I frequently retrieve for study and reflection one of my all-time favourite Gleaner columns.

Written by Martin Henry, it is titled 'A marriage of convenience - Portia, Peter make uneasy but necessary bedfellows', and published on Sunday, July 17, 2011. I've read it literally dozens of time. It's simply brilliant in its timeless wisdom.

Written in light of the then anticipated general election of December 29, 2011, Henry cogently showed how narrow partisan interests often trump the larger national good. The concurrent motif in his piece, however, concerned the confirmed animus between Portia Simpson Miller, People's National Party leader, and Dr Peter Phillips, both intent on vanquishing the JLP and regaining state power.

Martin Henry wrote: "Political parties are strange things. They are populated by power-driven, egotistic people who are enemies who, in the pursuit of their ambitions, have agreed to be friends in order to defeat some bigger enemy (the other party) in the fight for state power."

Advance Personal Ambitions

He also noted: "Simpson Miller perhaps 'dislikes' Peter Phillips as much as he dislikes her privately. But they need each other to advance personal ambitions and to advance the common interests of their party." And that's the main point of this article. Don't allow your personal feelings about your boss, customers, investors or colleagues to dictate how or whether you relate effectively with them.

Exercise the emotional intelligence not to cuss and argue and tell off people just because they rub you the wrong way. Instead, always focus on the bigger picture of your personal goals, as well as the goals of your company. Remind yourself that achieving your significant goal is what's important; not winning petty, inconsequential tiffs.

The momentary satisfaction of taking revenge or venting is usually not worth the high cost of destroying important relationships and alliances. It's more often than not a case of 'cutting off your nose to spite your face'. Don't do it.

Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist. He is the author of 'From Problems to Power' and co-author of 'Profile of Excellence'.

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