Do you know your conflict animal?

Is there someone with whom you have repeated conflict? I’m not talking about an occasional disagreement. I’m talking about someone with whom you disagree on a regular basis?

Did you know that there is a pattern to your conflict that you follow as surely as the dance steps of a waltz? What if you could learn those steps and diffuse the situation before it erupts?

Hi folks. Steve Hammond here from

Drs. Kilmann and Thomas came up with a way to classify our behavior during conflict. They gave each of the five approaches an animal, rather than just a name.

They said that folks tend to be a shark, turtle, owl, teddy bear (OK, not a real animal), and fox. Each of these approach conflict in a predictable way.

What was amazing about their study was that when two people have repeated conflict, each has a progression of animals they use to deal with the conflict. Up to three of them.

If the conflict goes on long enough, each at their own determination, will switch to a second animal. Eventually, they will have a tertiary animal.

So, conflict with the same person begins to resemble a dance. Each person knows well the steps and repeats them with amazing predictability.

Understanding this dance can greatly reduce the stress and keep us from putting up barricades that prevent a solution. It can also help us not misinterpret the other person’s intentions and motives.

Well, that’s it for today.

If you need help with conflict or if you need a speaker for your next virtual or live event, call, text, or email me. Let’s see if we can resolve the situation together.

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Remember: “I make folks unfireable.”


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