Case Study: Peggy’s Tsunami

Peggy and Julia are the leaders of two cross-functional teams that interact frequently.

They have been working together for five years, and while their teams get along well, there’s noticeable tension and frustration between Peggy and Julia.

Peggy’s behavior is showing increased signs of conflict brewing such as sarcasm and venting, and Julia is starting to withdraw and detach.


Having noticed the tension, you asked Peggy to shed some light on what might be going on.

Peggy sat down and unleashed a wave of emotion.


“I’ve had it! Julia emailed everyone on the team AGAIN without checking with me first. I’m pretty sure I told her not to email the entire team every time she has an issue with the plan. I especially don’t appreciate her tone in the email. It drives me crazy when she says ‘you should’ and ‘we need to.’ She points out everyone’s mistakes and seems to think she is an expert at everything. Actually, when I vented to Patel about Julia the other day, he told me he’s had the same experience with her. She loves running the show and undermine me as co-leader. We’ve had challenges in the past, and this is just another one of her shenanigans. She’s just so passive-aggressive. I can’t stand it!”



  • What is Peggy’s most likely core behavioral style? (Use the Natural Response to Conflict grid below.) You may find the “Conflict Shadows” particularly helpful.

                  D                                 I                                   S                                  C

  • What assumptions might Peggy be making that affect her perspective of the conflict?

  • What open-ended questions would you ask Peggy to help her become a more “conflict
    competent” manager?

Extra Credit: Based on Peggy’s description of Julia, what might be Julia’s core behavioral style? What might Julia’s perspective of the situation look like?