Tips and Strategies in Working Effectively with Saboteurs

Organizations frequently call me to help them deal with difficult people blocking progress and collaboration in their social change initiatives. My approach is to first conduct stakeholder interviews and then design and facilitate a decision making process to achieve the outcome an organization is seeking like a governance model, a strategic plan, allocating resources, or bully proof a meeting. Recently, I designed a training so that people can incorporate some tips and strategies in dealing with saboteurs in your own work. In this training, we:

1.  Six Saboteur Archetypes Review and descriptions:

  • Tyranny of the Loudest
  • Long Winded
  • Rule Obsessed
  • Nit Picker
  • Subject Changer
  • Organized Hijacker

2.  Nine Tips and Tools Practice Sessions:

  • Anticipate and Plan for the Saboteur
  • Involve people to solve the problem
  • Maximize the number of people to be heard through small group meetings rather than large forums
  • Know who is attending ahead of time
  • Transparent and agreed upon decision making process and structure
  • Have rules to enforce guidelines and the backbone to follow through
  • Use agreed upon values and principles to respond to challenges and problems
  • Appoint a volunteer to accompany the saboteur in meetings
  • Understand the gift and role of the saboteur
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