replace blame with curiosity
Replace blame with curiosity. John Gottman’s research data shows that blame and criticism reliably escalate conflict, leading to defensiveness and — eventually — to disengagement. The alternative to blame is curiosity.
Adopt a learning mindset. Check your assumptions. Do I have all the facts? Is there something I don’t know? What might be occurring for the person? If you believe you already know what the other person is thinking, then you’re not ready to have a conversation.
State the topic as an observation, using neutral language.
“In the past two months there’s been a noticeable drop in your participation during meetings and progress appears to be slowing on your project.”
Engage in an open exploration.
“I imagine there are multiple factors at play. Perhaps we could uncover what they are together?”
Ask them for suggestions or ideas.
“What ideas do you have?
“What would be your ideal scenario?”
“How could I support you?”