Five Ways to Turn Adversaries into Allies

Forget about strolling through life and ending with extraordinary impact. Leadership is never an accident. Influence is intentional, focused, and earned.

Billy Goats

Leaders intentionally have point B in mind.

Bob Burg’s new book, Adversaries into Allies, explains how leaders earn and ethically leverage influence in order to arrive at point B.

#1.  Control your emotions.

We make emotional decisions and back them up with the facts. We rationalize. Or, as Bob said, “We rational lies.”

Earn influence by responding rather than reacting. Responders control their emotions. “Every positive interaction starts with controlling your emotions.”

#2. Understand the clash of belief systems.

We believe that what we believe is what everyone believes. We make decisions based on unexamined beliefs. Influence begins when we believe others have different belief systems.

#3.  Acknowledge their ego.

Ego wants control. The clash of egos ends influence.

Ego is our sense of “I.” We pursue happiness in our way. Stop thinking the people out there have ego issues and you don’t.

#4.  Set the proper frame.

Don’t create adversarial environments.

Influence has an environment. “Every uncomfortable transaction has a frame. The question is who sets it. Allowing others to set the frame is relying on luck.”

  1. Smile.
  2. Avoid reacting with anger. Anger leads to anger.
  3. Apologize.
  4. Seek solutions not blame.

#5.  Communicate with tact and empathy.

Tact is the language of strength. Leaders with tact correct and keep others receptive to correction at the same time.

The key to empathy is communicating that you understand how they feel. If you don’t understand how they feel, communicate that you understand they are feeling something.

Final thoughts:

  1. Lose influence and create adversaries by neglecting these five principles.
  2. Influence isn’t adversarial.
  3. Effective influence builds a team of allies not adversaries.

This post reflects my notes from the first fifteen minutes of Bob Burg’s presentation in Harrisburg, PA on 10/29/13. His presentation was based on his new book, “Adversaries into Allies.”

How can leaders turn adversaries into allies?