20 January 2015

Which Animal Style Are You In The Office?


Barry Chignell

Barry Chignell

Barry Chignell worked in Ciphr's marketing team from 2012-2020.


Career development


In the Chinese martial arts, imagery of the Five Animals: Tiger, Crane, Leopard, Snake and Dragon appears prominently. Each has its own characteristics and strategy, but which animal style are you in the office?


Characteristics: Strength, agility; considered one of the two most powerful animals in Chinese astrology
Strategy: Tends to charge and attack directly with brute force, overwhelming the enemy

tiger stanceAt work, these characteristics could be translated into a confident employee who likes to lead from the front, rather than follow. Quick to take charge and delegate, they will be the individuals who control meetings and set actions for others.

Sometimes overbearing, they might be the member of staff that can cause a stir by overruling others when debating a way forward with a task or during project discussions. Strong-willed and confident, this is the employee that will get a job done and enjoy the challenge.


Characteristics: Evasive, rarely offense-oriented, subtle, graceful
Strategy: Works from a distance and capitalises on personal strengths, attempts to overwhelm with speed

This employee tends to work on their own, diligently and quietly. They get the job done, but don’t make a song and dance about it.
Sometimes shying away from the spotlight, they won’t be the member of staff that proactively puts themselves forward for a task, but can be trusted if delegated to.

Showing gratitude is a great way to get the most from this type of employee.


Characteristics: Agile, fast, accurate. Can use deception as an advantage
Strategy: Relies on awareness, sometimes employs intimidation, avoids using traditional techniques

snake stanceThinking outside of the box is this employee’s strength. When everyone else opts for a tried and tested way of completing a task, this person is happy to try something new.
Able to cope with any situation, this will be the person that accepts a new challenge and gets on with it – adapting easily.

Similar to the tiger, a snake is comfortable to overwhelm in a debate as the best way to proceed.


Characteristics: Strong, efficient, fast, technical, defined by accuracy and occasionally stealth
Strategy: Strikes quickly, then follows up

Quick to learn, a leopard is very logical and methodical. Using this method, they’re able to work through a project quickly and efficiently to reach a desired result.
Jumping straight in and getting the framework in place, they’ll then move on to make the fine adjustments and complete their work afterwards.


Characteristics: Strong, smart, deceptive, unpredictable; includes traits of the other four Shaolin animals – considered one of the two most powerful animals in Chinese astrology and the sign of the emperor
Strategy: May combine techniques of the other Shaolin animals

dragon stanceThis person is a balance of the other 4 animals. Great at multiple tasks, this is usually the voice of reason in meetings.

Sometimes producing surprising results or possessing skills that others were unaware of, this employee should not be overlooked when delegating tasks.

Which styles do you recognise? Which would you be?

Whichever style you or your employees are, Ciphr has a range of tools to help you get the most from your people.