4 Player Model

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People with different habits and roles form a functioning team. The four-player team model by David Kantor can help us understand a team in its interactions. It focuses on the dynamics that result from having four different roles - movers, followers, opponents, and bystanders.

Each of these roles have a constructive function in a resilient team:


They move a team along:

Without movers there is no direction.


They support the initiative:

Without followers,nothing gets completed.”


They provide critical feedback:

Without opponents,nothing is corrected.


They often observe the team and its processes from the sidelines:

Without bystanders, there is no perspective.” [1]

It is possible for a mover and an opponent to butt heads and prevent the team from making progress. But the model also explains how the roles complement one another. Understanding the various functions of these roles and applying them to our situations can help us resolve conflicts and continue working productively.

Making Use of the Model for Conflict Resolution

Adopt a bystander’s perspective

  • Summarize the positions of A and B.
  • What are the consequences of the actions taking place?
  • What seems to be the problem?
  • Visualizing the conflict line(s).

Motivate supporters to express

  • Which position do you support?
  • To which extent do you support the position?
  • What information is lacking for your positioning?

Inducing empathy

  • In which point your oponent is right?
  • Please repeat in your words, what B said.
  • Is this what you wanted to say?

Fair Communication Rules

  • Equal verbal and non-verbal treatment of both persons
  • Everybody has the same amount of time to speak
  • Describe, do not evaluate.
  • Talk about you, not about the others.[2]


Nils-Eyk Zimmermann

Nils-Eyk Zimmermann

Editor of Competendo. Coordinator of the project DIGIT-AL Digital Transformation in Adult Learning for Active Citizenship. Secretary of the DARE network. Topics: active citizenship, civil society, digital transformation, non-formal and lifelong learning, capacity building. Blogs here: Blog: Civil Resilience. Email: office@dare-network.eu