Karyn was in the conference room when I arrived. We only had ten minutes to talk, so right to the point.
“What have you decided that you would say?” I asked. Last Saturday, there was a shouting match that ended poorly. Karyn did not want a repeat performance. At the same time, she wanted the team member to live up to her schedule and complete the work assigned. I suggested that Karyn prepare a conversation that was both sensitive and straight.
“First, the conversation will be early in the shift. I will ask to see her in the conference room, because it is both private and neutral. I am going to start with a twenty second speech and then I plan to listen and ask questions.” Karyn stopped.
“So, what does it sound like?” I prompted.
“First I will apologize.
I am sorry the conversation got out of hand last Saturday. We are both adults and I know better. When I got angry, I should have just called a time-out so we could talk with clearer heads.
It’s obvious to me that something is going on outside of work that is very important to you. It is important enough for you to break the schedule even if your work is not completed. If we could talk about this priority, perhaps we could arrive at some solution. I might be able to help if you could talk me through it.
“Then, I plan to shut up and listen,” Karyn explained.
“So, after you listen, are you going to solve her problem?” I was curious.
“Absolutely not, if there is one thing I have learned, is that I can listen, but she will have to solve her own problem. In fact, she will have to do the hard work of thinking it through. All I can do is give her a platform to solve the problem rather than fight it.”