Recently three friends have reached out to me.
1) The person I thought my partner was isn’t, according to new information I have.
2) My teammate isn’t allowing me to participate fully in the group.
3) My client won’t listen to my ideas.
1) Sit him down and ask about what you just learned. Say, I just discovered this, and I’m not sure what to do with this information. Can you tell me more?
2) Sit down with him and say “I really am excited to work with you on this team, but I’m having trouble feeling fully utilized. Can you help me understand how I can get my ideas and approaches into the process?”
3) Sit down with him and say “I heard you ask for new approaches to this problem, but I feel like I’m not meeting that need. How can I help you better?”
In all cases, the solution was to openly talk about the problem, understand better the other person’s viewpoint, and enlist the person in resolving it. We are often afraid of conflict, but what if it wasn’t conflict? What instead of you vs me, it was us working on a problem together?
When I’ve used this technique, the other person almost always is aware of the problem, and is very grateful I’ve named it without moving toward blame. Their gratitude and relief is the perfect mood for us have a thoughtful conversation about solutions. Together.