How to Make Enemies

30 ways you're sure to alienate people at work.

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Michael Wade

There are at least 30 ways to make enemies in the workplace:

  1. Always correct others when they are wrong.
  2. Avoid “win-win” outcomes and instead rub in an opponent’s loss.
  3. Surprise people with bad news.
  4. Overpromise.
  5. Underperform.
  6. Let others rely upon your word, and then renege on your commitment.
  7. Use sarcasm.
  8. Spread rumors.
  9. Boast.
  10. Lie.
  11. Belittle people.
  12. Respond promptly whenever you are angry.
  13. Routinely question the motives of others.
  14. Be too busy for others.
  15. Don’t respect their time.
  16. Make loose allegations.
  17. Be uncaring.
  18. Ignore common courtesies.
  19. Don’t return letters, calls or email.
  20. Engage in personal attacks.
  21. Exhibit cruel and senseless prejudices.
  22. Openly enjoy the discomfort of others.
  23. Embarrass people.
  24. Don’t keep confidences.
  25. Claim undue credit.
  26. Be hypercritical.
  27. Be indiscreet.
  28. Be crude.
  29. Look down on people.
  30. Kiss up and kick down.
  31. Note the common thread in the above. All may be summed up in one word: inconsiderate. Being considerate takes time and work. It doesn’t come naturally.

    Michael Wade writes, an eclectic combination of management advice, observations, and links. A partner with the Phoenix firm of Sanders Wade Rodarte Consulting Inc., he has advised private and public-sector organizations for more than 30 years.