Monday, March 23, 2009

Being an Ally or a Neutral

Rough economic times are often used to justify an "Every man for himself" attitude in the workplace.

Unfortunately, the people and organizations that so eagerly seize upon that approach are just as ready to embrace it when business is good.

A decision is made in all relationships: Are you going to be an ally, a neutral or an adversary? The role of adversary is the default mode for many even though it usually brings no advantage. I've found no reason for the tendency other than insecurity. The most secure people I've known have been the most generous with time, guidance, and kindness.

This does not mean that all workplace alliances are healthy, even if the allies are fine people. Some positions carry responsibilities that demand a certain detachment and objectivity. Those jobs demand the role of neutral even though the individuals might prefer the role of ally. These titles may even shift depending upon the exercise of specific responsibilities.

That shift may be awkward, but it is better than being locked into automatic adversarial relationships.

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