How to Neutralize Hostile-Aggressive Co-Workers

You can tell how much you are innovating by the quality and quantity of the enemies you make. Some will try to run you over and others will take shots from under cover 1,000 yards away.

I was pleased to attend and support a Navy Seal Foundation event recently. Their mission is to provide immediate and ongoing support and assistance to the Naval Special Warfare Community and its families. The silent auction was unlike most I've seen at hospital fundraisers. Instead of pro athlete jerseys and trips to nice places, attendees got to bid on armaments and training camps designed for civilians where you got to "blow things up in the dessert."

In addition, there was an impressive display of SEAL sniper rifles, made famous by the recent movie, “American Sniper.” Most who are trying to innovate in healthcare, and, many who just work in corporate America, have probably looked down the barrel of a “sniper” at some point in their career.

Coping With Difficult People, by Robert Bramson, appeared in 1981. Not much about human behavior has changed since. The first chapter focuses on how to deal with the hostile-aggressive trio of “Sherman Tanks,” “Snipers,” and “Exploders.” Dr. Bramson noted that aggressiveness is that quality we see in people who attempt to shape the world as they want it be or believe it ought to be. Their weapons are: "innuendos, sotto voce remarks, not-too-subtle digs, non-playful teasing and the like." They also like to hide under a rock and gossip.

Snipers are very good at what they do. That's why they last as long as they do or become CEO. The strategy for coping is this:

• Smoke them out

• Provide them with an alternative to a direct confrontation

• Get other points of view

• Focus on the problems, not the people

• If you are a third party, stay out of the middle, but insist it stop in front of you.

You can tell how much you are innovating by the quality and quantity of the enemies you make. Some will try to run you over and others will take shots from under cover 1,000 yards away. Look for the flash and neutralize them.