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September 21, 2014

Watch Out for Snipers!

Complaints, blaming, finger pointing, sarcasm, and snide comments are all fuel for the sniper—the person who lives to make others look bad so that they look good. Unfortunately, it’s hard to ferret out the snipers since they often hide behind a façade of congeniality when in your presence. They only show their true natures behind your back!

Despite their ability to hide in plain sight, when you have a sniper on your team, it becomes obvious sooner rather than later. When discord among team members arises, it usually originates from a single source—the sniper. If left unattended, the situation can quickly dissolve team effort, damage morale, and undermine productivity.

While reports from others and anecdotal “evidence” may point to the identity of the sniper, they are not objective and may be colored by the person’s feelings toward the sniper. Require any reports from others to be factual and detailed, refuse to consider accusations that aren’t backed up with facts, and avoid taking action until you verify the accuracy and validity of the reports with your own observations.

When you can substantiate the sniper’s unwanted behavior, meet with him or her, review the team mission, and reinforce the need for everyone to be cooperative with each other. Explain that the sniping behaviors you have observed are undermining the team’s efforts and productivity. Describe the unacceptable behavior and be clear that continued sniping will not be tolerated.

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