This activity deals with Conflict Styles. This activity is from Training Wheels founder, Michelle Cummings' book, Setting the Conflict Compass, co-authored with Mike Anderson.
Directions: Place a large collection of animals in the center of the group. Begin the conversation by asking your participants to share with you how each animal deals with conflict. Go through each of the animals you have in the center of the group. During the discussion ask the participants to be thinking about which animal conflict styles match their own conflict styles. Encourage them to think of other animals not represented by the props you have in the center and add them to the discussion.
After this discussion, pass out one index card and a few writing utensils to each participant. Ask them to pick three or four of the animals whose conflict styles match their own. Invite them to morph these three or four animals into one and draw it on their index card. Then ask them to re-name their new animal with a combination of the three animals. For example: If a participant chooses a tiger, a horse, and a dog for their three animals, they might draw the body of a horse with the arms of a tiger and the tail of a dog. They might name this new animal a ‘Hors-ger-og.’
Give plenty of time for each participant to complete their index card. Offer assistance to those that appear to struggle with the concept. After everyone has completed their card, invite them to share their card and their conflict style with the group.
Here are some examples of different animals and their conflict styles:
The Deluxe Set includes 12 parts:
-Turtle (withdraw)–Withdraws from the conflict (hides until it is safe to emerge)
-Shark (force)—Forces and tries to make opponents accept his/her
-Bear (smooth)—Avoids the conflict when possible
-Owl (problem solver)—Known throughout children’s books as the wise old owl…the owl views conflicts as problems to be solved, confronts, seeking solutions that will satisfy both parties
-Rabbit—Runs and hides from any kind of conflict.
-Bull—hits the issue head-on when provoked. Certain triggers ignite anger.
-Lion—Very proud, works within a group, is King of the jungle. Another metaphor to work with is the “cowardly lion”, those that tuck their tail and run when faced with conflict.
-Mouse—Very timid, runs from conflict.
-Panther—Slinks around in the background, stalks his prey and pounces for the kill.
-Chicken—Everyone has heard the phrase, “You’re just being a Chicken!”, referring to someone who is shying away from a situation or opting out because they are scared. Chickens tend to flee from conflict and frighten easily.
-Elephant—The strongest animal on earth, has an amazing memory, yet when faced with small restrictions (a rope around their foot) it paralyzes them from moving forward.
-Horse—Can be tamed to do whatever their manager wants them to do. Very loyal when treated properly. When faced with conflict it rears back and attempts to protect itself.