If you decide to move up a hierarchy in any social or organizational business setting, you will face people who will present as obstacles. You will encounter them as ordinary people when in reality, they are nothing but enemies waiting to witness your demise. I have termed them as silent because they never usually declare themselves as your enemies. On the surface, your interaction with them is no different to those of your friends and colleagues. But beneath the formality, there’s palpable vibes that radiates one message; I want to see you fail. Out of the three, only one has the ability to have a hand in your downfall and capitalize on it. Anyone who decides to move up the socio-economic hierarchy in any point in their lives, will encounter these three silent enemies.
Your Position In the Hierarchy
Before exploring the title of this post, understand that your position in the hierarchy matters. In general, the higher you move up the hierarchy, the more competitive the landscape becomes. The more competitive the landscape, the more predatory the players are. The opposite happens to be also true. Cooperative environments are more likely to be at the bottom of the hierarchy and be occupied by individuals characteristic of the emotional and the miserable. So where you’re positioned will determine your exposure to the types of silent enemies you will encounter.
And you can apply this general rule in any work setting, from retail shops to corporate. Take note that bottom line employees lean towards cooperative environments. Managers and executives lean towards competitive environments. Depending whether you’re in a competitive or a cooperative field, you will need to adjust your behavior accordingly. Because all three archetypes will require a different approach to successfully keep them at bay. Lets take a look at the three.
The miserable archetype are your typical ungrateful, depressive complainers. They are incompetent, they hate their jobs and complain over anything. Lacking all kinds of ambition, these types are the bottom of the barrel within any organizational hierarchy. Consequently, to fill the void of contempt, they get excitement out of drama. They are exceptional gossipers, which you can use to your advantage if you wanted to spread rumors. They are also very effective at finding other miserable individuals and combine forces in their quest for drama. The miserable are completely harmless but will stop at nothing to take your time and attention, effectively slowing you down. Interacting with them will bring no value and can drastically damage your reputation when being seen communicating with them. Simply absorb their attempt to speak to you with silence and indicate that you are not available.
Your only interaction with them should be if you wanted to spread rumors for a particular reason. You can have full confidence that they would spread it for you. For instance, if my staff for any reason became complacent (which they often do), a simple rumor suggesting that ‘this financial quarters takings appear bleak’ will have the miserable on steroids. They will no doubt add pounds of fabricated false information to bring about a healthy dose of drama just enough for people to not take them seriously, yet also feel uneasy at the prospect of a bad quarter.
There’s an overlap between the emotional and the miserable. They both bear resentment, share the proclivity to complain, and want others to not succeed. The difference is that the emotional can act out and harm you while the miserable continues to go in circles. Your approach with the emotional must therefore be different. The emotional may also have goals and ambitions they want to achieve. They can be hard working and smart, but often fall short of moving up the hierarchy due to their emotions. In particularly, their negative emotions. Occasionally will you encounter them in competitive environments.
The emotional will want what you have but fail to get it, and so they become resentful and use underhanded means to adversely compromise you. Their inability to get what you have could be for several reasons; they lack the credentials or competence, they simply cant work as hard as you or their emotions get in the way. Entirely driven by envy and resentment, the emotional will compensate for what they lack in by sabotaging what you have either through character assassination or exploiting your weaknesses. This archetype are very prone to becoming a pawn for predators.
Think back to every time you had a co-worker who simply envied you. Every interaction resorted to friction to the extent that you would go out of your way to avoid them. Now you may have never experienced this, but imagine this envious person joining forces with someone (predator) in a position of enough power to really cause you trouble. They will work in tandem to undermine everything you do. This is in fact one of the key reasons why you cannot ignore the emotional archetype.
So what do you do?
If you want to maintain peace with The Emotional, you have to treat them like children. And I don’t mean this in a condescending way. The idea is to mirror their emotions as if you would to a child. Mirroring is how you transfer your energy to someone else, and an emotional person always seeks comfort and sympathy. They despise callousness and narcissism.
- Cater to their emotions
- Share fake vulnerabilities
- Establish trust
Ignoring them is misinterpreted as callousness to them. But it’s not in your best interest to ignore them. Emotional people can often be like wild dogs, where they lash out uncontrollably when they don’t get they want. It is far better to have a wild dog on your side than against you. A few emotional exchanges will have you contain them and lash outward. And this will work in your favor for when their behavior gets reprimanded by others, and consequently, they will look to you for guidance.
I had a manager I worked with for years. He was an emotional wild dog. But he was also very smart and cunning (rare combo), and his emotions constantly worked against him. He was older and was very resentful of me. I knew from the get go that this was not a person I want to be enemies with. He was the type of person to find an error, then orchestrate it to be significantly worse and reveal it to everyone in the form of a rumor, formal and written complaint. So I went out of my way to bond with him. We would go to a bar after work, talk about a range of topics. By the end, we were a force that worked in tandem. A few vulnerabilities shared, led to a small coalition that got things done. And even still, there always was that envy beneath the surface. But it was contained.
Predatory enemies are your typical low neuroticism, disagreeable, cunning tacticians. They overlap with the emotional in the sense that they want what you have. But the difference is, they can get it. And they will strategize quietly and more often than not, you won’t see them coming. They can effectively deter attention to what they do and falsify where their interests lie to avoid competition. You will encounter this archetype in competitive fields higher on the hierarchy. They often don’t play fair and will use any means to achieve what they want.
Dealing with the predator is a lot like playing chess. There’s no set strategy, and plans change regularly. Your moves depend on their moves. The player who dominates the center will generally win the game. The center here is a metaphor for individual power which I define by the six components;
I made a thread on this which you can take a look HERE . If you learn to dominate these six components, you will be equipped to face predatory enemies within any organizational hierarchy. Also take a look at the coalition THREAD here.
The March premium article will be based on How to Obtain Individual Power. And it will be analyzed, discussed and implemented in THE LOBBY .