Warriors never give anyone an
inch over anything
I am a
Either it is
right or it is wrong
These types of
phrases frequently come up when you try to manage warriors. Interestingly,
players who use this technique are likely to make their pronouncements when
others are around and will overhear. When focusing their play on one person -
usually a subordinate – warriors like to be sure others hear so they learn not
to test the player. They have been forewarned.
Warriors step on the feelings of
Since most people
are at least a little insecure about their competence and ability to work with
others, these players play on others’ insecurities. Some phrases from an office
environment are instructive.
More of the
same old stuff
Out of your
area of expertise
followed by any negative pronouncement
Add any other
phrase or statement to the list implying that the other person is at fault,
incompetent or less skilled and cooperative than the player. The key is to get
them where it hurts.
Warriors are ready to go to war
At first glance,
these players may seem to be the same as those who never give an inch. Although
they are chips off the same block, these players are just as likely to go for
the throat for what they want as for what someone else wants. The crux of the
technique is drawing blood. These players say things like:
If you won’t
go to the mat over the little things, they will just get out of hand
win or you lost
I enjoy a
If they want
to go to war over this, it is war they’ve got
After a while, it
becomes clear that the war is the thing. Even if they get what they want, they
will find something to argue about, hoping to start another war.
Warriors are harsh and abrasive
The essence of
this technique is more in the delivery than in the content. Players who have
mastered this technique understand that the barb must be short and quick to
work well. It is a sharp jab, a well-placed phrase or a quick response.
Ask the player,
“Do you have a minute for a quick question?”
response is, “No, not right now.” Then the player immediately turns
his attention away from the person asking the question, if his attention was
there to begin with. Mark’s exit from the conference room is also a good
example of this technique. It is quick, specific, and allows no opportunity for
discussion or rebuttal. The key is to hit and run.
comes up in other contexts. For example, the player suddenly has to leave but
says something cutting or troublesome on his way out the door. Those still in
the room are left to deal with the problem.
Warriors never let anyone take
advantage of them
point here is that these players think people are always trying to take
advantage of them. They spend their time and energy figuring out how everything
will lead to their getting had. Warriors are to be admired for the levels of
energy they put into their game. It takes constant vigilance to be sure no one
ever takes advantage of them.
One of their
automatic questions is, “Why?”
like to go to lunch?” “Why?”
“May I use
your phone?” “Why?”
going?” “Why do you ask?”
The player’s need
is to evaluate everything in terms of how he might get had. His motto
is, If I don’t take care of myself, no one else is going to do it for me.
Warriors will argue with anyone,
anywhere, at any time
This may seem like
never giving an inch or always being ready to go to war. To some extent, that
is true. The new twist is that these players do not have to win and do not
necessarily expect to win.
You ask a worker
to move to the office next door. That office is exactly like the one he has and
the move is to allow a new handicapped worker to be closer to the outside door.
The player says, “I am not going to put up with being pushed around. If
you think you can get away with this, you have another thing coming.”
example, two people are talking about something having nothing to do with the
player. Nonetheless, he listens for a few seconds and then disagrees with
something said. And the argument starts.
destructive examples are when an employee argues with a colleague in front of a
customer. Remember these players will pursue their advantage anywhere with
anyone, even if it is with the customer himself.
Warriors try to take charge of
everything and everyone
Warriors who have
mastered taking charge are also apt to take charge, give advice, or intrude
when people are capable of taking care of things themselves. For example,
“If I were you, I’d do that this way.” This works especially well
when the person receiving the advice neither asks for it nor needs it. This
technique also is operating when players try to tell others how to arrange
their offices, their schedules, their desks, or their lives, given the
example of the Take Charge technique happens during a player’s interview for
the position of president of a small corporation. Watch and learn.
The player is
sitting at the side of the conference table in the board room when his final
interview starts. On the first question, he slowly gets up and starts walking
toward the front of the room — to the head of the table.
By the third
question, he is standing behind the chairman. On the fifth question, he steps
back to the flip chart, picks up a pen, and illustrates his answer. While doing
this, he asks the chairman to move so others can see better. The chairman moves.
When the player
finishes illustrating his point, he moves back behind the chairman’s chair.
During the answer to the next question, he sits down in the chairman’s chair.
certainly takes charge – and believe it or not – he gets the job a half hour
Warriors expect others to adjust
to them, no matter what
A good motto for
these players is, It’s my way or no way. Brent and Harold model this technique
when they lock horns in the conference room. Brent insists on two field tests.
Harold is emphatic that there will be no more tests. The key is that both of
them seem to feel that getting the other to give in is more important than
having a quality product at a competitive price. Each has his idea and point of
view and expects the other to capitulate.
This play also
comes up in trivial situations. Try to schedule an appointment with a committed
“I need to
talk with you. Can we get together this week?”
The player says,
“This week is tight. How about next week?”
right. I could make it on Monday or Thursday.”
The player says,
“No good. Wednesday or Friday is it.”
could change a couple of things to make it Friday morning.”
The player says,
“That’s out. It will have to be afternoon.”
“Well, I am
going to take my mother to the doctor at 3:00 so how about 1:30?”
The player says,
“No can do. I’ll be taking a long lunch that day so won’t be available
“Well, I will
just have to reschedule with the doctor. 3:30 it is.”
The warrior closes
the game. He says, “I’ll pencil you in. Call me that morning to be sure
the time is still open.”
Warriors do not believe in being
flexible or accommodating to the needs, preferences or individual situations of
This pattern of
play is not the same as expecting others to adjust. Here, the player does not
push others to adjust or accommodate. Rather, his only rule is not to adjust to
or accommodate to other people. The operative motto is, You do your thing and
I’ll do mine.
religiously refuse to negotiate or horse trade. An alternative motto might be,
If you do not want to play by my rules, I will take my ball and go home. If the
other players have a ball of their own, warriors go home anyway.