Facilitation Antipattern: The Gladiator

Posted by Doc
Feb 03 2009

gladiatorMotto: It’s all about the combat!
Belief: The best results come from heated discussion/argument.
Behavior: Challenging and confrontational.
Characteristics: Doesn’t take it personally, and doesn’t understand why you do.


There are some people who seem to be happiest when they are immersed in conflict of various sorts.  “Violent agreement” is frequently heard, along with being told that it’s more interesting that way, or that you shouldn’t have to hold back, or that it’s not personal, or…

The problem is that most people do not respond positively to being attacked, assaulted, dominated, overwhelmed with perceived verbal and physical violence. They frequently do take it personally.

As a facilitator, behaving this way is right up there with the Evil Genius – you just shouldn’t be facilitating, unless it’s the Ultimate Fighting Championships!

As a participant, you contribute to creating a situation in which no one else is interested in speaking up. Why speak up when someone is going to challenge you to a fight? That’s not fun for most people.

Dealing with The Gladiator requires the patience and confidence to talk to them directly and ask them to tone it down. In many cases, Gladiators are not actually bad people – they’ve just fallen into a pattern of behavior that has worked for them.

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One Response

  1. […] have found that by the force of their presence (similar to the Gladiator) they can achieve their goals.  But distinct from the Gladiator, the […]

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