Working with a Gunner


How can we deal with hyper-aggressive leaders?

So you’re blessed with the opportunity of working with one of these hyper-aggressive leaders I call a “gunner”... What to do? 

First, recognize that it’s not their fault. Don’t blame them. They are a “work in progress” just like you and me. Judging won’t help you or them. Pray for the gunner and for yourself. You can’t “minister” to someone you don’t love, and praying is one of the greatest acts of love we can do. And God does His best work when we pray.


Because prayer is how God changes YOUR heart.

But wait, I’m not the gunner here!

No, but you can only manage you. Only God can change them. You will be a part of the problem or a part of the solution based on how you manage YOU…on how you respond to the gunner.

The key is acceptance. We Christ-followers talk about love all the time, but we rarely talk about acceptance. That’s the first step in helping a gunner. Accept him as a person…just like he is. Don’t judge, don’t criticize, don’t placate or try to “schmooze” the gunner. They’ll eat you alive. Just accept them as they are, communicate your acceptance, and keep praying.

People are drawn to acceptance and run from rejection. To have influence with a gunner, you’ll have to accept them just as Jesus accepted you when He first saved you. People can sense when they’re accepted. Over time, gunners warm up to those who accept them. You’ll stand out because most people will run or hide or wear a mask. Or, they’ll go negative, become critical and cynical, ruining their opportunity to have influence (and maybe ruining their chances of keeping their job).

By the way…do your job. You should be doing this anyway, but be sure you’re on top of your game and are delivering what’s expected of you. If things go wrong, give bad news early and often. Gunners don’t like surprises. Most respect courage and honesty. Not all, but most, so long as honesty is based on facts and not on opinions or excuses.

If you continually pray for your gunner and choose to accept them, even when everything in you says “run,” you just may be the person God uses to help the gunner find a better way of living and leading.

Question: Are you praying for the gunner in your life? Does he feel your acceptance? Might God have a divine appointment waiting for you and he sometime in the future?

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