Gerri Bostick, Pacesetter Chair, opened the February 27, 2019 session by introducing FWA member and Deloitte executive Edna Kamara. Edna welcomed the Pacesetters to the Deloitte offices and applauded them for being selected into one of the FWA’s premier programs. She encouraged the group to give back to other women through contributing their time and talents. She suggested that they get involved with the FWA through its programs, committees and events as they will be the next generation of leaders.
Amy began the workshop by highlighting the positive outcomes from handling conflict in a straightforward and honest way. Knowing that no one likes to deal with conflict, she acknowledged that women are more likely to avoid this than men. Amy then introduced and showed examples of the 4 types of conflict and suggested that before attempting to resolve a conflict, it is important to know what type of conflict exists.
Having good intentions before engaging others in discussion is critical and Amy encouraged the Pacesetters to gain control of their emotions first. She offered some strategies for how to do this and laid out some options for potential approaches. She also suggested that leaders maintain their poise and professionalism and not engage in side bar discussions about the conflict with third parties. This demeans their competence in the eyes of those not affected, and reduces their credibility. She outlined the steps to take to prepare for a difficult conversation and why emotions must be consciously managed.
The Pacesetters then analyzed a conflict between two directors in a matrixed environment and offered approaches on how they would solve it. They evaluated the personalities of the two to make decisions on how they would interact in a meeting. Amy gave them pointers on how to establish the correct venue, what tone and behavior would be most appropriate, and the types of questions that might lead to a mutually agreeable outcome.
Given the prevalence of this topic and its inevitability, the Pacesetters left the session with a useful toolkit, including Amy’s best-selling book, The HBR Guide to Handling Conflict.