NEW YORK, (March 31, 2021) –  Shelley Tanner, SanovaWorks CEO/President

Conflict is a part of daily life. Sometimes we wake in conflict. Our alarm goes off, we need coffee, our inbox is overflowing, and our boss, employee, or associate isn’t communicating quickly, clearly, or at all. Conflict arises, diffuses, or escalates, based on our individual approach to the situation. 

A leadership role often comprises dealing with conflict. Each situation is unique, however, it can indicate a larger issue in a company or organization. These are the things I’ve experienced in my career and my leadership role at SanovaWorks. 

In the past year, I’ve had the good fortune to meet Vickie Williams, a conflict resolution expert. I’ve enjoyed many conversations with Vickie about conflict resolution and how individuals and companies can respond appropriately. Vickie generously agreed to share her wisdom and insights on how to resolve conflict, and why conflict isn’t bad, it’s actually necessary. 

SHELLEY: What are your top tips or suggestions to mitigate the situation when conflict arises?

VICKIE: I have 8 steps that I suggest when conflict is present. 

  1. 5-second rule: In 5 seconds if what you are about to say or do, is harmful to yourself, others or the world around you –do not do it.
  2. Know the outcome that you seek. Why are you having this conversation? What do you seek to gain or learn from this conversation?
  3.  Timing. Just because you want to have the conversation, be mindful that it may not be the right time to have it. Take a temperature check on your attitude. Are you angry? Are you emotional? Is the other party angry or emotional? Take a minute, gather your thoughts and let everyone cool out.
  4. Tone. Manage your tone. Do not get loud or snarky. You have identified the outcome that you are seeking, tailor your conversation to that effect.
  5. Patience. The difficult conversation may need to be revisited. Be patient. Know what you can live without to get to a solution that meets most of what is important to you.
  6. Be open, flexible, and fluid; but know your limits.
  7. No is a complete sentence. No explanation or permission is necessary to disengage with a conversation or person if the engagement causes you stress, pain, or trauma.
  8. Lastly are you prepared for the other party’s action, inaction, or reaction?

SHELLEY: How do you build and maintain relationships?

VICKIE: Ask the question. If there is confusion seek clarity. Boundaries are important. Ensure that you understand that you control them. Communication is critical, say what you need and want and convey them by your actions. Trust is the most important part of any relationship. It is easy to break and hard to regain.

SHELLEY: Is relationship building different in the age of COVID-19?

VICKIE: Yes, it is different –but not difficult.

SHELLEY: When do you know it’s time to call in the experts regarding conflict resolution?

VICKIE: In a personal setting it is when the pain hits you deep and you feel lost. In a business setting, ask yourself the following question:  Are your employees exhibiting the following behaviors? Excessive absenteeism, excessive tardiness?

And are your employees, leaving, disengaged, gossiping, not cooperating, breaking rules, and/or disrespectful?

What is important to note is that at some time or another every workplace will experience some of these issues. It is not the issue in itself that determines when you should bring in an outside consultant, it is the degree and duration of these incidents that raise a red flag.

SHELLEY: What are your final thoughts about conflict?

VICKIE: Conflict is not bad. Conflict is not good. Conflict is necessary. Please do not be afraid of conflict, it can assist parties to identify issues that need to be resolved. Lastly, a mediator is a professional and adheres to the process. The mediator is neutral and not on anyone’s side. Therefore this can be a very equitable process.

Vickie is an entrepreneur. She created OPN-Door Communications; a mediation, conflict coaching and training firm. OPN-Door Communications was developed to help businesses and families resolve conflicts, communicate effectively, build relationships, retain relationships, maintain relationships, preserve relationships, and sever relationships with dignity and diplomacy.

Vickie believes that education is key to your success. She holds a B.S. in Business Administration from her beloved, Elizabeth City State University, Master’s in Public Administration from Old Dominion University, and four certifications in Mediation with the Virginia Supreme Court.

Connect with Vickie 

Phone: (757) 816-4478

[email protected]

Twitter: @opndoorcom

Instagram: @opndoorcom