This is a coworker you don’t want to cross. He (she) has spent a lot of time networking, schmoozing and building alliances in the workplace. He doesn’t typically have position power, but has created peer power. He would do well on the TV show Survivor.
If the Alliance Builder was just a nice person who happened to be a great networker, it wouldn’t be so bad. But this person creates alliances out of a need for power and control, and can often get nasty. Exceptionally judgmental and a proficient gossip, the Alliance Builder can create a very unpleasant work environment and a lot of insecurity for unfortunate coworkers who become his targets.
Focus On These Five Things
The bad news is that there’s not really anything you can do to change the Alliance Builder. He’s very comfortable in the role, and has probably been doing this since High School. The good news, though, is that you can remove yourself from the stress he creates. Focus on these five things:
- Be yourself. Don’t participate in his discussions or activities
- Focus on your job. Be good at it
- Be friendly to everyone
- Never, ever talk or gossip about your coworkers
- Avoid him as much as possible, but when you have contact, be friendly
In doing these five things, The Alliance Builder will usually leave you alone – because you don’t pose a threat to him. And over time, your coworkers will find the ‘safe’ environment around you to be a great source of comfort.