Dr. Relly Nadler: In this encore presentation, we are pleased to bring you Joyce Odidison who is a conflict analyst, strategist, speaker, author, and coach. She has done extensive work, research, and writing, on interpersonal wellness for life success. She is also a professional, certified coach with the International Coaching Federation. She is President and CEO of Interpersonal Wellness Services and has been a consultant for the last 15 years. She specializes in organizational, leadership, and people development.
Joyce is a mentor coach and a trainer through Interpersonal Wellness and brings a diverse perspective to her work with experience as a former instructor of both conflict management and sociology at the university and college levels.
She is a trained mediator and an intraspace negotiator. We’ll ask her what that means. She is the author of the book, Get Ready for Mediation and also Interpersonal Wellness System, a coaching toolkit. She is the developer of the Interpersonal Wellness System Model and the IWC Coach Program and the Interpersonal Wellness Quotient. We’ll get some information about how you actually manage your interpersonal wellness.
Joyce, welcome to the show!
Joyce Odidison: Hello, and good morning.
Dr. Relly Nadler: It sounds like along with what we have already said, you serve organizations and groups to help maximize and realize their success with improved relationships at work, at home and in groups, and that you have also helped clients negotiate difficult workplace conflicts, creative, collaborative groups, mediate highly intense disputes, and improve workplace wellness. You also have designed conflict management systems and management coaching, anti-harassment and respectful workplace programs for colleges and organizations.
You are an engaging, creative and innovative individual with a contagious passion for life, which we will hear in just a second, for helping people develop and maintain great relationships to optimize their relationships. Your website is www.interpersonalwellness.com.
Joyce, can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you came to this world of dealing in conflict, and then shifting more towards interpersonal wellness?
Joyce Odidison: Well Relly, to be honest, I have always looked at conflict as a catalyst for change. It’s always been an opportunity to look what is the conflict telling us and what can we learn from it. The question is, why we as a conflict analyst, I’m always looking what is the cause of the conflict and how can we better learn about the dynamics of the group or the individual’s reality and what can that tell us about why this person is in conflict, or the organization is in conflict. What are the structures in place that are sustaining that conflict, and so forth? Those are some of the things that always interest me.
I was a mediator and a conflict analyst. The calls are always about focusing on the conflict. I brought in coaching as one of the tools I use to help my clients to find more sustainable results. Over time, we need more effective communication, we need to help our employees get over the interpersonal conflict and really started focusing on what is interpersonal wellness, and that has actually evolved in the last decade to become the focus of my work. It’s creating, designing, developing, and maintaining interpersonal wellness for individuals, groups, and workplaces, and especially with leaders as is the focus of your program.
It’s a very important role, leadership, and often leaders are looking outside themselves and their focus on the trends, the growth, the task. Seldom do they stop and take a look at themselves and see how am I contributing to the wellness of the relationships within the organizations.
So often, I would go into design a system or provide training or respond to a conflict and had to go back to the leaders and say, well, it came to my attention that you may need to do some changes in this particular area and look at these interactions, your language, and your communication, the way you express yourself with your employees and the comments you make; that whole interpersonal dynamic.
Often they are surprised and some show more resistance than others, but usually, when they take it at face value and really apply themselves, they get excellent results that are sustainable.
Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Joyce, I’m curious about how you have become the successful person that you are. Who has influenced you in your success?
Joyce Odidison: That’s a really good question. I have always looked at that and that question and I’ve always looked at successful people in my life and I’ve done a lot of reading. I have been an avid reader all of my life. To give credit to any one particular leader would be unfair because I have read very widely as a child, a youth, I’ve always read. Every book has been such an amazing learning tool.
I think one of the books that made the greatest impression on my life was the Norman Vincent Peale book, The Power of Positive Thinking. I think that book has been really instrumental in the foundation of my mind and my life as I was growing up, as a young adult and moving into adulthood. It’s helped me to set some of the foundational principles of my life and probably my frame of reference, I would say, as I look back on my life.
Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Outstanding.
Dr. Relly Nadler: One of the things, Joyce, this is a new term for me; I’ve never heard of Conflict Analyst. So there is a Masters Degree in Conflict Analysis?
Joyce Odidison: And Management.
Dr. Relly Nadler: What is a Conflict Analyst and the whole study of conflict analysis, if you have a Masters in that. That has got to be a huge subject field. I certainly know about conflict management and conflict negotiation, but I had never really heard of conflict analysis.
Joyce Odidison: You know there are different angles with which one would look at it. The conflict resolutions which you look at the resolution and the options. But the conflict analyst is more focused on identifying root causes, identifying and analyzing the problem and looking at more of an analysis.
From that, the foundation then is to move into more of a solution-focused approach to conflict. That has been, and I think it’s more of a social psychology approach to conflict management.
Dr. Cathy Greenberg: You are actually looking at the root of the conflict and then the reactions or the potential reactions that one can take?
Joyce Odidison: Absolutely. I don’t even use the word reaction, more I’ll use potential options. We look at the conflict, and when we look at it we look at what are the appropriate options for this conflict because every conflict is going to be so different in nature and dynamics and the structures that sustain it in this conflict.
Often, when you go into a conflict situation, what is really important to remember and something that the conflict analyst will do more of, is to remember that when you go into the conflict, you change the dynamics. Also, there is a structure within that organization that will sustain that conflict, so you may see two individuals in conflict in five or six organizations, but the way the conflict unfolds and is manifested will be determined by the structures within that organization that are sustaining the conflict and it will look different, not necessarily be a different conflict in terms of root cause, but the structures will tell us also. That’s where the analysis comes in again; what is sustaining this conflict and how do we address these structures and what are the appropriate solutions for them.