Show notes –

This week’s episode we had a guest co-host, Sacil Armstrong. She & Christine spoke with Shannon L. Felder about Harnessing the Power of Conflict.

  • We talked about where do you start?
  • What is healthy conflict?
  • How do you create a safe environment for your teams as a leader?
  • Find out about the awesome offering for Harnessing Conflict that Shannon is offering next week.

You can find our full show notes at:

And today’s guest at

Shannon M. 0:08
Hi ladies, I am Shannon Mitchell, a black millennial business owner, the founder of Shealo Glo LLC, an all natural skincare company that helps you glow from head to toe. I am a champion for your daily self care, business care and intentional wellness.

Christine Gautreaux 0:21
Hey, y’all. I’m Christine Gautreaux, a white social justice advocate and international speaker, coach, published author and dancing social worker who helps you upgrade yourself and community care.

Shannon M. 0:35
Together we are women connected in wisdom, a podcast grounded in the eight dimensions of wellness

Christine Gautreaux 0:39
and we like to get together every week for intentional conversations between us and special guests about how to be wise in business relationships and wellness. Hello, hello. Hello. Welcome, everybody to the women connected in wisdom podcast. We have a guest host today. So my friend, colleague, Sacil Armstrong is our guest host today. Before you introduce yourself, I just want to give warm shout outs to Shannon we’re calling your name hey Shannon under the weather today. So she will be back with us next week. And we miss you My friend. So Sacil, and I do a podcast on Mondays previously called Playing with possibilities, but now going to be called the Everyday activist. You want to introduce yourself to see all and what you do and who you are.

Sacil Armstrong 1:31
All right, thank you. My name is Sacil Armstrong, my pronouns are she/her I am streaming to you live today from the land of the Catan unseeded land and the Catan now known as Newport News, Virginia. I’m an embodied activist. And so I’m all about getting in your body and doing something to make the world better. I’m the founder of inspired by Indigo, soon to be called everyday activism, where I teach people how to let go of blame, shame and guilt. Get in your body, know your facts, and then get out and undo the work, go out and do something that’s going to change the world for the better. And then the last step that people like to forget is to rest, rest of your body and your mind and your spirit and celebrate your wins. And by doing these four steps over and over and over, you can make social equity a habit. So it’s not something that you have to gear yourself up to. It’s something that you love to do

Christine Gautreaux 2:29
Sacil thank you for joining me. And I know it was a little last minute.

Sacil Armstrong 2:33
That’s okay, you know, I’m here for you.

Christine Gautreaux 2:36
Thank you for saying yes. And today we are talking about social wellness, which is actually the chapter you wrote in the book, which is so cool

Sacil Armstrong 2:44
I was about to say that’s right in my wheelhouse. Yep.

Christine Gautreaux 2:48
And so I want to read that definition. And then us check in before we bring our guest up today. But I’m really excited to have this conversation, because today we’re going to be talking about harnessing the power of conflict. And so, right, you know that, you know, that’s something I like, I know, right? So social wellness, just to give our listeners the definition that we’re working from social wellness is about the ability to nurture ourselves, others in our relationships with healthy boundaries. It includes balancing the other seven dimensions of wellness, and actively participating as an interdependent being in the web of life. So that’s a lot. It’s a lot, right. But when I think about harnessing conflict, I What pops out to me about that is that healthy boundaries, so I can’t wait to see what our guests has to say. Yeah. You know, usually we stop and we say, how are you? I don’t know if you want me to ask you that.

Sacil Armstrong 3:53
I am present and I am in my body. So

Christine Gautreaux 3:57
that is a great way to start, right? Yeah, I will. I will say the same thing too. I am. I started this morning with a two mile walk at the local park. Once the rain broke and, it was was so needed. To just be outside. Get a little bit of sunshine. And yeah

Sacil Armstrong 4:21
we didn’t have any sun here today. It’s been raining all day. I didn’t get all my steps in but I walked a little bit in the rain just because I needed a break. But I have been like moving. You know, something has been happening ever since I woke up today.

Christine Gautreaux 4:33
Right? Dancing fast. Yes, absolutely. Well, I am delighted to introduce our next guest. And if you’re ready, I’m gonna go ahead and introduce her and get her up on stage because I think we’re gonna have an incredible conversation today. So ready for it. All right, let’s do it. So Shannon Felder helps leaders develop peaceful collaborative relationships so they can fulfill their vision, maximize their potential and enjoy the journey. Right. Her unique approach to conflict management was cultivated through her experience over more than two decades, as an attorney, organizational leader, and Coach. Shannon empowers those who work with her to develop the conflict confident mindset, oh, well, I use unhealthy conflict and create a culture where unhealthy conflict is minimized. While healthy conflict is embraced as a tool for growth. I am so delighted to welcome Shannon l Felder to our stage and to have this conversation.

Shannon Felder 5:46
I’m so excited

Christine Gautreaux 5:47
Thank you so much for being here.

Shannon Felder 5:49

Christine Gautreaux 5:51
You know, we were talking ahead of the show about where we’re all from, because we were all raised in the south, and about just a little bit about even the word conflict and what we’re taught right as Southern women, and what a lot of women are taught about conflict. So I’d love for each of y’all to say kind of how you were raised and what you were taught about it before we dive into your work Shannon and how we do it now.

Sacil Armstrong 6:24
I’m gonna let our guests go first.

Shannon Felder 6:26
Okay, so like you said, I have lived in the South all my life. I am a preacher’s daughter. I’m also a preacher’s wife, I was a glutton for punishment. And so, you know, the the odd thing for me is, although, you know, I had a lot of the societal expectations when it came to conflict within my household conflict was fun. You know, we did things like, instead of my parents punishing us when we did something wrong, we would hold family court, and we would get to argue our cases, you know, and we would have a jury of our peers, you know, and so, it was different because I kind of had this dual relationship with conflict, because outside the confines of my immediate family and my support system, you had these societal expectations that you know, are connected to gender that are connected, sometimes to age dynamics, that you experienced, that sometimes are connected with church, especially in the south, but then within my immediate circle, I just had a different relationship with conflict.

Christine Gautreaux 7:42
Oh, no wonder you became a lawyer.

I know, what about you Sacil, what was your experience growing up?

Sacil Armstrong 7:53
I had, I had to, I had different messages within my household, you know, some people in my household who are seriously conflict avoidant, and so anytime there was anything they would like, basically run from it. And then I have other people in my household who are had other people in my household who just went for it. They’re just like, oh, there’s a disagreement? We’re gonna talk about it. And so there’s one person who’s like, I’m ready to talk. And then there’s another person who’s like, nope, nope, everything’s good. I just want to pretend like everything’s good. So in my house, I had like, two two conflicting ways of handling conflict. So that’s what I grew up with. And now I, I ended up being somewhere in the middle, I want to address it, but I want to hold space for the other person at the same time. And so I was like in the middle.

Christine Gautreaux 8:41
I was telling Shannon before the show, I met a colleague probably about 10 years ago and this is before I really got intentional about my racial justice work and social justice work. And at that time, I’m very conflict avoidant and I was raised to be conflict avoidant you know that whole thing about you know, if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all and that in so and never question the authority, because both my parents were public school teachers, and so that whole in and so when I met this colleague, she loved conflict, and she said to me, Oh, you’re conflict avoidant? And I was like, Oh, isn’t everybody I’ve since learning not everybody is conflict avoidant. And, and I’ve learned more tools, but I can’t wait to have this conversation with you today, Shannon like about how do we harness it? Like, how do how is it a positive thing? And that we can quit avoiding it? Because we know I mean, so seals work my work now, like, we can’t avoid conflict, like especially if we’re going to make systemic change and address some things that are really wrong. We have to be able to harness So give us all your wisdom, Shannon.

Shannon Felder 10:03
Well, I mean, the first thing that you have to have is you have to have a mindset shift. Most of us whether we avoid conflict, you know, we have people that are conflict avoidant. And then we also have people who are conflict explosive, right. And that’s not a positive thing either. you have some people that just argue for the sake of argument, they use it as a tool, you know, my daughter would say they bully people and create conflict. And no extreme is healthy, you have to have harmony, you have to have that balance. And so the first thing you have to do is you have to change your mindset about conflict, and you have to stop fearing it, and start embracing it. And the reason I love to say, like harnessing the power of conflict is because I think of conflict like energy, or like fire. And science is not my my strength. But you know, I do remember learning this thing about the law of conservation of energy, right, the energy is neither gained nor lost, it’s only transferred. And when you think about conflict, in that manner, you begin to realize, like, I can use this energy to create something positive and beneficial, or I can allow it to build up become toxic, become destructive. And that’s what so many of us have experienced. And that’s why we dislike conflict. And my my observation, and my experience is when we say we’re conflict avoidant, we’re really not because it’s impossible to be conflict avoidant, what you’re actually doing is you are making the choice to avoid external conflict, but you’re trading it for internal conflict.

Sacil Armstrong 11:45
Oh, yes. Right. So

Christine Gautreaux 11:47

Shannon Felder 11:49
and so when you have this internal conflict, because you’ve decided to avoid that difficult conversation, you’ve decided not to, to amplify your voice, you know, you take two extremes. Sometimes both right, you know, when you read my, the Body Keeps the Score, all these other things, a lot of us because we have all this bottled up conflict. It’s the tension, we feel it’s the blood pressure, it’s the health issues that we’re experiencing, because we’re not being authentic to who we are. Because if you ask me, Do I like something? And I say yes, when I really don’t, that’s the lack of authenticity. And I’m betraying myself, and I feel that dissonance, I feel that internal conflict and that energy, that that’s going to manifest in some form. And then the other thing that we do is we displace it, right? So I’m really mad because we had this conflict at work. And I didn’t say anything, I just acted like everything was okay. But now that I’m home, I mean, to my children, I’m short patient that with my spouse, we’re, we’re transferring that energy is just displaced. And so when we talk about harnessing the power of conflict, what you’re really doing is you’re saying, I am going to be intentional about where and how I use this power that I have, which is my voice. One of my favorite quotes is when everyone thinks alike, no one’s thinking much, right? Right. So if everybody is agreeing all the time, then there’s a lot of internal conflict beneath the surface. And there’s a reason that you can’t tap into it. And so when you harness the power of conflict, what you actually do is you say, Hey, I don’t expect people to agree with me. I expect to grow through the process of disagreement. I expect to grow through the process of dissatisfaction. And so I can embrace conflict as a tool for me to grow, instead of me fearing conflict. Because, as we’ve already talked about, I have so much conflict baggage. Right? We just, no one taught us how to do this the right way.

Sacil Armstrong 14:24
That’s true. That’s true. I’m finding that a lot of a lot of the things that we talk about now, especially when it comes to communication and relationships are things that we just weren’t taught. And now people are learning that these things are not just things that happen, they are skills, and you can learn them.

Shannon Felder 14:41
Right. And it’s amazing because at the root of conflict, confidence at the root of conflict mastery is comfort being your authentic self and putting your space yourself in spaces where your authentic self is valued. And and you know, one of the things I tell people on and I know this is this is said so many times in the in the sphere of self care, you teach people how to value you.

Christine Gautreaux 15:13
It’s true.

Shannon Felder 15:15
So when it comes to conflict, when I say putting yourself in environments that value who you are and value your voice, you have to take an active role in creating that environment.

Christine Gautreaux 15:27
Oh, I 100% agree with you that Shannon, like that authenticity piece the knowing who you are, like, because I think what happens with a lot of women, sometimes it’s they’re so invested in pleasing other people that they lose themselves sometimes. And they don’t know who they are, to either didn’t have that authenticity. So I think that knowing who you are valuing yourself and putting yourself in places where other people value you is huge. Not always easy. But he

Shannon Felder 15:58
it’s not easy, but it’s worth the work. Right. Always

Sacil Armstrong 16:02
really worth it. Yeah, yeah, absolutely.

Christine Gautreaux 16:04
So how do you teach people to do that? Like, how do you teach people say somebody who wasn’t weren’t taught the skills to Sacil’s point? About how do you even start being able to use your voice and stand up for yourself?

Shannon Felder 16:22
Right, so I spend a lot of time with my clients initially, and I work primarily with leaders, right. So just being transparent when people come to me, they usually have problems with their team. And so when people come to me, it is very much like Shannon helped me fix them, right.

So, you know, the first thing that we have to do is we have to change it from fix them to help me fix me. And so we really do a lot of deep work into how do you feel about conflict? And why do you feel that way? Because most of my clients, there’s this disconnect between who they want to be incompetent, and how they present themselves. And I think one of the, one of the problems with using this as like, teach me how to do it, is that can be inauthentic as well. Right? I can’t teach you how to do conflict, until I make sure that you are comfortable being yourself in conflict. So we spent a lot of time just dealing with that, like I said, that mindset making those mindset shifts, looking at, why do I feel the way I feel about conflict? And how can I reverse engineer my perspective? Okay, so so we start there, and then kind of after we, after we work through that, now, you are comfortable with conflict, you’re comfortable being your authentic self. So now you’re in a good position to start engaging with other people. And most of the time when when people come to me, they’ve got some toxic conflict going on. Now, you’re empowered to defuse that, because you’re bringing up you know, one of the things I tell my leaders is if you want other people that, you know, if you want your colleagues and your team to be comfortable with something, you’ve got to be confident with it, your level has to be above that, that you expect of, of your team. So you can’t want them to deal with toxicity and unhealthy conflict when you’re scared and you’re nervous. And you’re, you know, I really don’t want to address this, right. So we’ve got to get that leader to a place of empowerment, and then that leader ism goes in and is able to defuse that conflict. And then once you get rid of the toxicity, right, the final step is to create an environment where there is healthy conflict.

Christine Gautreaux 19:01
So for our leaders, for our listeners, leaders and listeners, because we have both, what is healthy conflict? When you think about those words, what are you what are you thinking about Shannon?

Shannon Felder 19:15
So I like to call it productive disagreement. Okay. Everyone has a different perspective. It’s formulated by our background, by our experiences, even within an organization, our position, right? Just to give you a basic example. You know, the, the financial person, the accountant, the CFO has a totally different perspective than the service provider, right? But we need both right because the service provider just wants to do all this great stuff and the sky’s the limit, right but you have to be accountable to your donors. You have to be accountable to you know, your board or your stockholders, depending on you know, what type of organization you have. We need these perspectives to bounce off of one another so that we can come out with the best thing that balances everyone’s interests and make sure that everyone’s needs are met. So if you have an environment where someone has a contribution, based on their perspective, but for some reason, they won’t put it on the table, then your organization is operating with catastrophic blind spots. And that is, the opposite of healthy, healthy conflict is when everyone is coming, bringing their perspective. And we are really hashing it out. And when we leave that conversation, when we leave that meeting, when we leave, that that planning session, we didn’t all agree, we all have different perspectives. But we are confident that what we came up with balanced everyone’s needs and interest, and is the best thing that we could do for everyone involved. And then we have the buy in that we need for everyone to really rally behind it and move forward. Okay, so that that’s what healthy conflict looks like. That’s what healthy conflict feels like. It feels like, it may not have gone exactly the way I wanted it to go. But my voice was heard my voice was valued. And I understand how we’re balancing this and we can get behind it. Right. One of the things I laugh at a lot of times is like you’ll have executive leadership, and they’ll come up with these great ideas. But the ideas have to be implemented by the boots on the ground. And and the people that have to implement this idea didn’t have a seat at the table. And now there’s all this, you know, that’s not going to work? How much money do we lose? Just doing things that if we really thought about it, then it makes sense, right? I want to hear from everyone, I want to get perspectives. I don’t want you to agree with me, I need you to help me see my blind spots, I need you to think about what I’m not thinking about and what I wouldn’t think about because of my my position or my my experience. And that is that is the key to healthy conflict. Now that takes work, right? Because, as we talked about, there are power dynamics in place, right? We all have this personal history that we bring to the table. You know, I was dealing with someone last last week, in fact, and in an organization where I hold a leadership position. And you know, I reached out to the person and I said, Listen, I know that you may have been in some environments where you didn’t want to tell your leader certain things because you thought it would be mishandled or misappropriated. It might be considered a weakness, like if you have something personal going on, that’s affecting your productivity in the organization. It was never let them see you sweat. And I said, Let’s listen as your leader, part of my responsibility is to help you be the best that you can be for this team. And what happens to you outside of this environment impacts you inside of this environment. So it’s never a sign of weakness for you to trust me. Because my job is to support you and empower you to be the best person you can be here. And the person said to me, that’s not my experience, you know, I was berated? You know, I felt like I might have been overlooked for advancement in an organization if they, Oh, she’s not strong enough, all of those types of things. And so I had to kind of disband all of that history, to get that relationship in place so that I can be effective in assisting that person. Right. And that, that’s what I think a lot of leaders are missing is knowing how to bring people together, how to gain their trust. And then once you gain it, how not to misappropriated so that people feel like they can disagree with you, right? Like if I disagree with you, is it going to be appreciated? Or is it going to result in passive aggression? Is it going to result in water cooler and parking lot talk about me? Am I going to be seen as a quote unquote, difficult team member? So you really have to you got to cultivate that, that environment.

Christine Gautreaux 24:23
Yeah, thank you so much. I know you have a question Sacil, but I just really is listening. And she said, that’s good. So thanks for listening, Kimberly, and we’re glad you’re here today. What you got for us Sacil?

Sacil Armstrong 24:39
I, My question is, I’ve been working with a group who is focusing on consensus building and this sounds a lot like that, but it seems like it might be a little bit different. So what’s what’s the difference between healthy conflict and consensus building?

Shannon Felder 24:52
So consensus building can kind of be it’s very similar okay, but consensus building can kind of be situational. Okay. Okay. But when we talk about a healthy conflict culture, we’re talking more about a working team dynamic on an on going basis. Okay, so we can develop consensus around the issue, but not have harmony as a group.

Sacil Armstrong 25:21
Okay. All right, that makes sense. Thank you. Absolutely.

Christine Gautreaux 25:28
I want to pull up Kimberly’s comment, because I think, you know, this is a reality that some people are really afraid to speak up because of retaliation. Wow. Right. And what do you say to somebody that, that that’s been their experience? Or that that’s their fear?

Shannon Felder 25:46
So, you know, first of all, I think that trust is a dynamic process, right? So I tell people that you, you, you grow in your trust of a person, and your trust of a team. And so I think that you do things to build to a point of conflict, confidence within an organization. And so you, you disagree, meaningful meaningfully, like not just to be disagreeable, right. And then you look at how that is handled. And that that, honestly, is one of the reasons that I really focus on dealing with leaders. Because there are leaders who say they want this dynamic, collaborative environment, but because of their personal relationship with conflict, they’re doing things that are destructive to the environment that they say they want, right? And so that leader has to be aware, like, I actually work with my clients on saying, okay, when someone disagrees with you, here are your after actions. Because you have to be intentional, about reassuring that person, that you’re not going to retaliate, that they’re not going to be met with passive aggressive, you know, backlash, right? So there are things that there are after actions that you have to take, that can facilitate that deep level of trust that, you know, what, when, when I disagreed with my leader, the relationship didn’t change, in fact, it got stronger. And then that that builds that trust, the more but you know, I do a lot like as a, as leaders, why do we retaliate? We don’t retaliate, because of what they did, or what they said, our need to retaliate as personal. It’s our insecurity. It’s our fear. And when we really get to the root of that, then, like I said, when you get to the authentic you, it becomes easy to do this stuff. Right.

Christine Gautreaux 27:57
I love that. I love that. Yes. Christine Singleton is listening and said, This is good stuff. Absolutely. It is. Yeah. I want to, and I think you’ve addressed it in some ways, but I want to get real specific if we can around when you talk about harnessing it. How do you I mean, I think about conflict situations, I’ve been in, you know, steel, and I do a lot of embodied work, right? So you often feel it in your body. And we often teach people how to release it from their body, right? Not how to harness it, but how to how to like, let it go through them and be resolved. So I want to talk a little bit about that, about when you think about harnessing it, what are you thinking,

Shannon Felder 28:46
so I’m going to deal with it on two levels, I’m going to deal with it on the individual level, and then I’m going to deal with it on a leadership level. Okay, so on the individual level, very similar to what you’ve already said, I tell people, you know, take what I call a pregnant, pause, do some breathing, do some, whatever you need to do. And after you’ve kind of paused, then do a self check and see if you can release it. Because sometimes, you know, in that moment, it seems like a big deal. But when you actually kind of decompress, you’re like you know what, that you know that that was me, I’m just tired, I’m irritable, and you’re able to let it go. Okay. If you are not able to let it go, you have to make a commitment to process it. And processing it starts with introspection, right? So I have to really deal with me first, like, Why do I feel this way? Why does this bother me? You know, and I’ve got to eliminate all of my, you know, all of my stuff, right? Just to give you just to give you an example. When my husband and I first got married, there were was like a trigger word that I didn’t know was a trigger for me. Okay, being a bossy or controlling woman was just thrown around like it was the worst thing ever in some environments where I was. And so that was a trigger for me right for, for my husband to say you need to stop being so bossy like that took me to a place that had nothing to do with him. Right, so I had to be introspective enough to realize that’s my trainer.

Christine Gautreaux 30:30
Hey, y’all, this is a great place to take a break. Take a deep breath, and hear from our awesome sponsors that make women connected and wisdom podcast possible. Shayna, we are so grateful that Shealo Glo is the sponsor of the women connected in wisdom podcast. And I wanted to take this moment to ask you when you think about the people who use Shealo Glo, where are we talking about?

Shannon M. 30:55
That’s a good question. I think about three groups really, one, the group that’s removing hair, right, so whether you’re using laser hair removal, waxing, shaving, you got to make sure that you’re putting back what you’re taking out the second group, I think about those with dry skin, and the problems that that might cause right, the scars, itching, burning, whatever the situation is, you definitely need all three steps, right? The exfoliation making sure you’re taking the dead skin cells off the oil, putting in the moisture, and then the shea butter with the aloe sealing it helping you heal those things help both groups, right. And third, for the third group is those with chronic illness. You know, the story is personally from cancer and different diseases that our population is dealing with on a daily basis throughout families as individuals. So I’m thinking about my mom and my grandmother and those around me with the same generational ties, right, and what positive healthy habits, we can start to make sure that we’re maintaining our wellness, especially because the skin is like the cape, the exterior the the shield for your immune system. So with COVID We have to be intentional about covering ourselves. And those are the groups I think about. I love

Christine Gautreaux 32:07
it. And you know what else I love about your product? It’s all natural, handmade, and it smelled great, y’all. So yay.

Shannon M. 32:17
Yes, Esthetician tested and approved. Yes. Yes. What about you? When you think about your company? What groups of people do you think about?

Christine Gautreaux 32:27
Well, you know, I work with individual coaching clients, I work in community classes and with corporate teams, and with all of them, I use a strength based embodied approach to help folks connect with themselves and access joy, reduce burnout, and build resilience. You know, especially during these times, I think we need it. I think we need all the hashtag partnership power we can get.

Shannon Felder 32:49
Yes. That’s not him. He’s not saying that from a mean spirited place or derogatory place. I’m responding to it as strongly as I am. Because that’s me. Right? So after you’ve done the introspection, and you’ve made sure that you deal with you, then you need to, you need to confront, right. But confrontation is not a bad thing. We it’s not right. When you come to a confrontation, having already processed all your internal stuff, you’re able to address the situation and not have all this emotional baggage firing off and interrupting you addressing the issue. I always tell people, pause, release it. If you can’t release it, you owe it to yourself to process it internally first. And then to go to the person and process it externally. at a leadership level, it means I have to be intentional about creating opportunities for people to disagree with me safely.

Christine Gautreaux 33:58
Right, like creating the environment and the culture. Yeah, and

Shannon Felder 34:03
the space. Right? It can be as simple as one of the things I work with my leaders on is how to how to ask questions, right? Because we ask questions in meetings and in group spaces that are actually conclusions. Don’t you all think that’s a great idea? Okay, what am I supposed to say? I

Christine Gautreaux 34:25
know, it’s the worst idea I’ve heard all week, right? You’re putting

Shannon Felder 34:29
me You’re putting me in an environment where you’ve already told me your presumption is that your idea is great. And now that makes me feel like in order to perfect your idea, I’m attacking you. So it can be something as simple as saying, Okay, guys, here’s my idea. What are the weaknesses in this idea? How can we improve this idea? That is not intimidating. That’s inviting That’s saying to me, I need you all to disagree with me because I know that I’m not, you know, omniscient, I don’t know everything. And just those little shifts can make huge differences in your team dynamic. I’m big on on training people on how to do meetings will write, we don’t give people information in advance, and then we want them to respond to it. So you come into a meeting, and it’s like, okay, so here’s the new direction that we’re going to take the company, and you talk for 15 minutes. And then you say, what are your thoughts? Like? What do you mean? What are my thoughts? I’m still trying to process all of that information. Right? Yeah,

Sacil Armstrong 35:42
that’s, that’s an organizational thing. For real. I’m working with an organization right now, who is actually recognizing all of that. And we’re trying to try to set up some systems to do better, and give people a chance to like, process things and come back to it. Because I’m like, You can’t ask me something, and then asked me for my opinion, when I didn’t have to think about it. Because I’m not gonna think of what I want to ask until the day later.

Shannon Felder 36:04
Here’s the reality, right? Historically speaking, when you go back, and you look like during the Industrial Revolution, more, most organizations really didn’t want the opinions. So a lot of these systems are designed to deny you the opportunity to respond and just get you to do a quick head nod and be compliant. So we have to revisit a lot of what we do, and acknowledge that it’s not even designed to allow people to express disagreement, it is designed to get you to nod your head blindly. And you know, do do what I said. And that that’s not working anymore. Let’s just put that out there on the table. That’s, that’s not working anymore. I tell people, you know, everyone was like, oh, what’s going on with the great resignation? And what’s going on? I was like, look, and you know, all this quiet quitting. I’m like, Y’all stop, y’all have been quiet hiring for decades, like, so. The fact that now, people are saying, I just refuse to spend eight hours, okay, I spent eight hours at work, I spent eight hours asleep. And I spent eight hours trying to live life like I’m not, I’m no longer willing to give a third of my existence to misery. And I choose an environment that is more conducive to who I am as an individual. So I mean, we got, we got to stop getting mad at people for doing what they should have been doing anyways, it’s a real

Sacil Armstrong 37:37

Christine Gautreaux 37:38
speak it that is some truth there. Kimberly gave you some props earlier. And I’m just going to put them up here because that that was a good time to put this up there. I love this conversation, because what I’m hearing you say is that when we create environments, when we create cultures where people can disagree, that’s where the real work happens. And that’s where we have cultural shift and change and systemic change, which Cecilia and I know that to be true with our work activists, and that’s easier said than done sometimes. Right? Yeah,

Shannon Felder 38:16
it is. It is, it is. One of the things that concerns me the most with our society today is we vilify people who think differently than we do. And when you go to a level of making character assumptions about someone, because they disagree with you, then that becomes an impediment to you engaging in healthy conflict, because you’ve already made up your mind that that person is inherently bad, or that that person is wrong. And it puts us in positions where we cannot do the work that we need to do. You know, one of the things I tell all of my clients is when you’re dealing with people, and there’s a disagreement, I always tell them start with competence. There’s something they don’t know there’s some information they don’t have, there’s a skill they haven’t developed. Start there, right? And then after you’ve eliminated that as a possibility, then let’s move to capacity. Right? Maybe you’re asking someone to do something they’re not capable of doing. Right? For whatever reason, there. They don’t have the capacity to do what you’re asking them to do or to think the way you’re asking them to think or to engage the way you’re asking them to gate engage. Only after you have explored those possibilities and try to remedy those possibilities. Should you give yourself permission to examine the person’s character.

Christine Gautreaux 39:56
Hmm. You don’t get that.

Shannon Felder 39:59
You don’t get the right Let me off as a person, when maybe I just don’t know. Or maybe I’m just not able. Right. Right. So I think that’s, that’s so important. And I just see so much right now the reason we have so much unhealthy conflict is because we go straight for character. Yeah, well,

Christine Gautreaux 40:18
I agree. Go ahead. No, you go.

Sacil Armstrong 40:21
Okay, I was gonna say, I totally agree with you. Because when I’m working with people talking about anti racism, anti oppression, the first thing I focus on is self care getting in your body, and then learning how to hold space for the other person before you have the conversation. Because otherwise, everything that you’re thinking and feeling, you’re going to bring that and they’re going to feel it and it’s going to mess you up before the words get out of your mouth. So I love the way you frame that. Yeah. Yeah.

Christine Gautreaux 40:46
I love those three C’s competency, capacity and character. And then the one that bubbled up for me is compassion, like, right passion for ourselves and the other person when we’re in a complex situation. You know, whether it’s a good conflict situate, like we’re trying to solve something, and you know, or if it’s one that bubbled up from something else. So you and I were talking a little bit before about, like, nonprofit boards, like, who, like I have served on a bunch of them. And this is where I’m like, How can we get all this information to like, everybody?

Shannon Felder 41:27
Well, one way is, you know, I do retreats for boards, and, you know, people bring me in, so to work and you know, do half day or whole day just kind of conflict culture development. So yeah, I mean,

Christine Gautreaux 41:40
that, yeah, yeah, you tell people, what you have coming up, because I know you have something exciting coming up that we want to share with our listeners and get the word out about.

Shannon Felder 41:52
Absolutely. So next week, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, I’m doing something called copper conflict, and catapult your team. Over the course of those three days, it’s primarily for leaders, but we lead in all kinds of spaces, right? So I am giving everyone just a quick crash course and exactly what we’ve talked about how to change your conflict perspective, how to defuse existing conflict, and how to kind of have a blueprint to build a healthy conflict culture. And normally, I’ve done this challenge, I think two times before, I’ve always charged for it. And I just from my birthday into the holidays, I’ve just been in this really giving mood. And so this is the first time I’m doing this for free.

Christine Gautreaux 42:41
Yeah, so see, I was telling her you and I probably need to show up from right.

Shannon Felder 42:50
Yes, yes. And so, you know, when you register for it, next week, you’ll get the link to our private, both Facebook group, and our private zoom space, where we’ll be getting together, and, you know, I’ll just be pouring in for an hour each evening. You know, of course, it’s interactive, you have to do you have to do homework, you know, you have to do the work. You know, but, but I’m really, really excited about it. And if you want to register for for that, you can go to be conflict as well. So, yeah, www dot Viki conflict And so I’m really excited about it. Um, every time we do this challenge, my leaders just have quantum leaps, like, like their teams, the teams love it, I have a practice of working with my leaders before I work with their teams. So even even if I’m coming in to work with the team, even if it’s just like a half day, kind of, even if it’s just an hour, I kind of want to deal with the leader one on one because I don’t like being in environments where everyone is kind of deflecting, right? And so when you go and you start working with the team, and you say something, they’ll look at the leader like Well, that’s you.

Christine Gautreaux 44:29
aside, I right. All

Shannon Felder 44:31
right. So you know, I like to kind of work with the leader for a little while make sure that leaders position I’m about empowering leaders not undermining leadership, right. So so I like you know, making sure that that leader is where they need to be to take their team to the next level. I

Sacil Armstrong 44:49
can totally see how if the leader isn’t on board, everybody else can’t get on board because they don’t feel safe.

Shannon Felder 44:54
Right, right. Like I don’t, I don’t think you can have a healthy conflict culture. with a leader who engages in unhealthy conflict, like I work with mid level managers sometimes. And one of the things that I work with them on is what I call the bubble concept, which is where as a leader, you don’t always think about like in the movie, The Incredibles, the girl who can like put the field around her. And I’m like, that’s kind of what you have to do with your team, like to the extent that you can create this nice little bubble, where you all just have this wonderfully productive and harmonious ecosystem, you know, do that. Because it’s very difficult to take it beyond you if you have toxic leadership above you. So yeah,

Christine Gautreaux 45:40
I love that. Shannon, thank you so much. We had a conversation a couple of episodes ago with Kate arms, and we were talking about psychological safety. And it really feels like it kind of all ties in together. Oh, love it. Oh, this has just been so good. And so informative. Alright, so where can folks find you before? We have a question for you before you go, but folks can find you at I put it up a second ago. But I want to make sure is there anywhere else you want them to find you.

Shannon Felder 46:09
I am Shannon l Felder on every platform. So right. If you put Shannon l Felder in Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, everywhere. I am Shannon l

Christine Gautreaux 46:20
filter. That’s awesome. And we will put that in our show notes too, so people can find you. So every week we Well, there’s two things we want to ask you. Okay, what are your wellness practices that keep you going on a regular basis with this big work that you’re doing out here in the world?

Shannon Felder 46:40
Absolutely. Well, I I make appointments with myself. And I give them the same honor and integrity I give in appointments with others. So for example, if I’ve had a hectic week, and I’ve decided that on Saturday, I’m going to take a really long nap. And I put them out down for Saturday afternoon. And you call me and say hey, Shannon, are you busy Saturday afternoon? I am.

Christine Gautreaux 47:12
I love that.

Shannon Felder 47:14
That’s that. That’s, that’s one of the things because we set appointments with ourselves, and then we break them like, are you? Well, not really? Why is your appointment to take care of yourself less important than your appointment to have a meeting with someone else like? So I that’s one of the things I do. I calendar me and I honor my calendar. Oh, I

Christine Gautreaux 47:35
love that. I love that. Well, that flows into our next question, because we like to ask every week, we do a wellness, a wisdom in action. So it’s kind of like our hashtag. Like if you had to hashtag anything about this conversation? What would your wisdom and action be for this week around harnessing conflict management?

Shannon Felder 47:59
I would say, um, don’t be afraid to amplify your voice and make every environment you occupy better.

Christine Gautreaux 48:13
I love that CEO, what would your wisdom and action be?

Sacil Armstrong 48:18
I like those three C’s that she talked about, along with yours that competence, capacity character, and then what you added compassion. I like I like those. It’s like, concise, and you can remember it. And those four steps just make such a difference. So yeah,

Christine Gautreaux 48:36
I’m going to add one seed of that for my wisdom and action. And that changed your mindset around conflict, right that not to see it. And I think I have really done that over the last 10 years. But I could tell even when I was talking about there was still a lingering bit of that right. So I’m so grateful to have this conversation y’all. Thank you both for being here. And for being a part of this. And Shannon, we will put your info on all our stuff and just share your work with the world. We’re so grateful for what you’re doing there.

Sacil Armstrong 49:11
I love it. It was so nice to meet you.

Shannon Felder 49:14
Great meeting you great seeing you Christine. enjoyed everything with you guys.

Christine Gautreaux 49:21
Thank you so much. Thank you soon all right. Oh my goodness. What a fun conversation.

Sacil Armstrong 49:28
Yes, I love how she just took something that that a lot of people they hear the word complex and their mind freezes up and everybody gets tight and she just took it and broke it down and said you know you know what, we can do this with compassion and we can be gentle with ourselves and we can still do this from from the top down.

Christine Gautreaux 49:46
Well and also I loved where she started with the authenticity piece. Yeah, you have to know yourself you have to know where the stories came from, and and be able to and what I heard her say I don’t know if she said it this way because you know what? SAR language but to be fully in your body to be present to be able to read

Sacil Armstrong 50:05
what she meant it

Christine Gautreaux 50:06
Yeah. And just Yeah, so that was really that gave me a lot to think about and and I

Sacil Armstrong 50:12
love the idea of mid level management creating a bubble, right for the people that they manage I love I love that imagery of protecting the people that that report to you.

Christine Gautreaux 50:24
Absolutely well and that offer that she’s given the world about conquering conflict.

Sacil Armstrong 50:30
Girl, you know, I’m signing,

Christine Gautreaux 50:31
I’m gonna I gotta look at my calendar. I’m a little nervous about the being next week, but I’m so looking up and signing up. So well, my friend, I am just so grateful for your time and for you being here. You know, being a woman connected and wisdom with that. And thank you for filling in for Shannon today. And do you have you seen coming that you want to let folks know about?

Sacil Armstrong 50:58
Um, well, yeah, I’ll let people know that I am changing my business name to everyday activism. And so I’m going to be offering instead of the membership, it’s going to be an email, I can’t even remember what you call it. But people will still be able to join and go through the four pillars that they go through with me in the membership, but it’s going to arrive directly in your email box. And instead of having to sign up and log in, you’re going to be able to click your email and get all the information right there, you’ll get like a 20 minute video, and I will take you through the process of learning new self care technique, or getting, you know, a good understanding of a concept and tying history to the present. And suggestions for ways to put this into your everyday life. How do you work this stuff in? You know, how do you go from? I learned this information, I’m grounded in my body. And I don’t want to go to a protest. We’re not asking you to go to a protest. I’m asking you to take this information and use it wherever you take up space so that you can make change for the world, you know, and get that delivered directly to your inbox. And you can find me right now. It’s still

Christine Gautreaux 52:07
Yeah, thank you, my friend. Thank you so much for being here. I appreciate you and to all our listeners whether you listen to live or you’re listening to us on the recording, we are grateful for you. And until next week, which this was episode 94, y’all. So next week. We’ll be back it’ll be episode 95. And until then, don’t forget, be well

Shannon M. 52:31
be wise. And be whole.

Christine Gautreaux 52:34
we’ll see you soon.

Satimara 52:41
Thanks for listening. This has been the women connected and wisdom podcast on air live on Wednesdays at 5 pm. Eastern via Facebook and YouTube. Be sure to like share and subscribe be part of the conversation and get connected at women connected in