My good friend, Tricia Bailey posted an article on Facebook this morning on the Brain Science of Collaborative Problem Soving. It is an approach that operationalizes key findings from brain science to address some of the most challenging behavior in some of the most challenging settings. The article recommends three steps to take when experiencing a challenging colleague:
1. Empathize – Try to understand your colleague’s concern or perspective about some specific problem. Ask questions. Empathizing get does not mean agreeing or disagreeing. It simply means understanding. This reminds me of Stephen Covey’s habit, “Seek First to Understand…”
2. Share Your Concern – Let your colleague know what your concern or perspective is. This is the second part of Covey’s habit, …Then to be Understood.”
3. Brainstorm – Invite your colleague to brainstorm solutions that might address both of your concerns. Try giving them the first chance to generate a solution. This will generate investment and buy-in.
I’ve read a lot about “Empahizing” lately, about truly listening to someone’s stressful behavior, rather than judging or blaming. Ask questions when you see anxious or troubling behavior. Something is going on that is unpleasant and anxiety causing for the other person, be it adult or child.