When there’s a problem on the team, people are going to talk about it. Usually it’s in hushed tones while at work, or it’s the hot topic at the coffee shop or bar after everyone’s shift. When someone vents or complains to a specific person, it’s usually because they feel safe sharing their thoughts with them.
This person, who may or may not be in leadership, is sometimes not comfortable taking in the info and might be unsure of what to do with it.
What’s a person to do if they’re aware of bad feelings on the team, they want well-being restored, and they don’t want to have a role in the resolution process? Resolution diagnosis!
In resolution diagnosis, they’re partnering with the person airing their grievances to determine a plan for getting the situation resolved that satisfies both of their needs. This process can be time-consuming, it’s also possible to get a plan figured out within 15 minutes. The length, depth, and weight of their story plays a big part in how long you’ll spend in each step.
Before embarking on this process, be transparent
As soon as possible, clarify your intent and set your boundaries. If you are unwilling to listen and do nothing, let them know that. Before they continue to confide in you, ensure they have an understanding that you expect some action to come out of this conversation that will change the situation in a positive way.
What if they decide to stop sharing or not share anything with you at all? You’re still aware that something is going on. You can encourage them to go talk to someone else that can support them, you can also connect them to a supportive party directly in a non-invasive way.
If they agree to keep sharing, the resolution diagnosis process goes like this:
Listen to their story; understand them and what they believe is going on
Discuss the assumptions you heard in their story. Explore with them if there could be any other explanations and see if that makes a difference (it may or may not)
Brainstorm possibilities for how this situation could be addressed (your not resolving anything here, you’re talking about how you’re going to get things resolved)
Talk through the options you generated. Determine which ones you both agree have the chance of restoring well-being, and you have the time, skills, resources, and ability to carry out. Neither party should agree to something they can’t get behind; get aligned on why you are taking specific possibilities off the table for consideration.
Pick your best option, detail a plan of action around it, and commit to it
Execute the plan, see what happens (the listener might not have anything to do here)
Reconvene sometime after the plan has been completed to see how they’re doing, and to assess if your method is moving the situation in the right direction. Start over again if it’s coming up short.
It’s easy to forget or skip this last step, yet it’s the most crucial one if your goal was to improve the situation that was causing trouble. Without a pause to take stock in where things are presently, it could unravel. Take the time to reflect and determine if well-being has really been achieved, or if there are any necessary adjustments to make to ensure everyone is on the track towards it.
Being the go-to person for everyone’s drama doesn’t have to feel like an awkward burden. If you practice connecting people with paths that will take them out of their own conflict, you become a source of support and change instead of a parking lot for bad feelings.
À la Carte
Find links here to unrelated yet thought-provoking content that has caught our attention. Order it, share it with a friend, or skip it to save room for info you really want to digest.
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