Dealing with Problem Personalities at Work – The Sniper

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Published on August 19, 2012 with No Comments

Last time, we spoke about the bully- aka the in your face turd-and explored the ways in which to handle that lovely type of person.  As grating as they are, however, one thing can be said about bullies. You know where you stand with them, and can therefore act accordingly- like you are awesome, they’re nuts, and their antics are a waste of your and your employer’s time.

More dangerous and possibly more damaging if not handled properly and expeditiously, is the SNIPER! The sniper, named as such, because these are the people who from a distance, will wait for the opportune moment to undermine and discredit you. They will do so by eye rolling or making snide comments in front of your colleagues, and especially your boss.

So, how do you handle this passive aggressive douche? Well if we are to run with the sniper analogy; snipers are most lethal when hidden, yet most vulnerable when exposed. Similarly, work snipers lose whatever power and more importantly, credibility they may have when their passive-aggressive behavior is brought to the forefront.

To expose the sniper, remember, you must ALWAYS remain calm, like with the bully, regardless of how insulting or infuriating the sniper’s comments/behaviors are. When the sniper does or says something insulting, immediately INTERRUPT YOURSELF- meaning that you should stop whatever you were saying and doing.

Look the sniper directly in the eyes, very calmly single him or her out, reflect back his or her behavior, and ask what was meant by it.  When doing so, body language also should be firm and dominant-  no fidgeting, legs securely planted on the ground, arms by your side.

Should the sniper retort with another snide comment, continue to reflect and ask what was meant by it.  Most often the sniper is unaccustomed to being in the spotlight. Consequently, he will not be expecting such sudden exposure , will be unprepared, and likely unable to give  valid reasons for his or her behavior past superficially snide comments. Reflect this back to the sniper, discrediting him or her, and resume what you were saying/doing.

Here is an example:

You are in a meeting, and are currently presenting a brilliant idea to your boss. Douchebag McGee, sitting next to you, rolls his eyes and sighs audibly.

You: <Immediately stop what you were previously saying, even if in mid sentence, turn to the sniper, confidently and calmly> McGee, I noticed you just rolled your eyes at me <reflecting what he did>. What did you mean to say when you did that? <questioning his behavior>

Douchebag McGee: <Probably surprised and a little flustered> Just that your idea is dumb.

You:  You think my idea is dumb <Reflecting> Why is that? <Questioning>

Douchebag McGee:  <Probably mumbling> It just is.

You: Hmm, so you don’t have any REAL reason. Perhaps before rolling your eyes or saying that something is dumb, it might be helpful for you to know why you think something is dumb. <Owned Bitch!>..Now back to what I was saying.. <and you resume the awesome idea you had>

So in conclusion, force the sniper out in the open,  expose him, and destroy!

Good luck!

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