Warriors are overly aggressive, insensitive, rigid, and have an unusual need to control people and situations. Understanding these characteristics is the key to effective counter play. Never giving an inch over anything, never letting anyone take advantage of them, and trying to take charge of everything are the essence of their play. When managing these players, first keep in mind that they mistrust everyone and their motives. With this as a given, you can see that they operate mostly out of fear and insecurity and honestly believe keeping absolute control is the only way to be safe.
Next, warriors create a negative and emotionally charged environment for their game. Stepping on the feelings of others and being harsh and abrasive keep others off balance and preclude any personal involvements that might weaken or interfere with their game. It is important for them never to be in a situation where they have to deal with people as people.
Finally, warriors use arguing and a reputation for going to war over everything as a technique to keep others on guard and at an arm’s length. This fighting posture enables the player to defend his turf and to keep the game away from emotional or “feeling level” tricks. The game is and will remain a matter of who has the most muscle and the greatest willingness to go to the mat over everything.
With this in mind, counter play is not complex. Yes, it is difficult. It requires great patience and skill, but it is not complicated. Warriors are insecure and feel threatened by almost anything. The key is to stay away from the usual technique of trying to get cooperation by showing the other person how cooperation will work to his advantage. With warriors, that is not an incentive to go along. Instead, the skilled counter player says, “If you don’t want to go along with me on this, I respect your choice. I thought I might be able to help you avoid the problems you are going to have over this. If they are not of concern to you, I have other things to do.”
For example, in the illustration Brent would do better using this technique with Harold than he does by getting into an argument. He can say, “Harold, I see your point about the price and appreciate your concern. Nonetheless, it may be better to test things out now instead of running the risk of your having to deal with irate customers. What do you think?”
As you develop a feel for pointing out negative outcomes to warriors, pulling it off depends on neither arguing nor reacting to hurting comments. No matter how cutting the barb, say, “Thank you for sharing that with me. My point is . . . .” If the player starts to argue over anything – and he will – passively listen until he stops talking. Now say, “My point is . . .” It is an exercise in being thick-skinned. Do not react or respond to the garbage. Assertively and calmly stay on task and on the point.
The rule for managing warriors is not to be intimidated. Also, never come to the bait, no matter how tempting or irresistible. The bait, of course, is the urge to defend yourself, attack the warrior, become totally frustrated, and quit or simply capitulate to his will.
It will help to think in terms of a strong vacuum into which you can be pulled. The aggressiveness and nerve of the player causes what psychologists call a fight/flight response. There is an urge to strike out on the one hand and a competing urge to avoid warriors all together on the other hand. Interestingly, either response serves their purposes. As a skilled counter player, you will find your purpose best served by doing neither.
How do you do neither? The trick is to understand that what you are feeling is inside you. It is not inside the warrior. The player only has the level of power to affect you that you give to him.
For example, if you are dealing with a warrior and if you feel the fight/flight urge, you need to understand that the conflict is within you. It is not between you and the player. It is your problem.
Once you catch on to the problem within you, you take back your power. Now you need neither fight nor flee. You do not need to stand your ground either. That is the same as getting ready to fight.
Your goal is to disempower warriors. This happens by doing nothing. Listen if you are interested or have no choice but,
Do not let the player affect your behavior or actions
Do not get pulled into conflict or confrontation
Do not knowingly do anything that gives the player any more power
If the situation becomes desperate, think about something else, do not pay attention and mentally back away for awhile. Better to be accused of not being attentive than to fall into the player’s trap.