Yes, FEAR is an acronym, but let’s own fear by adopting the No-FEAR Confrontation approach when we work to resolve employee conflicts.
1. FRAME the issue concisely and state the facts. “John, we are teammates yet I feel that you don’t trust me because you are hostile toward me.”
2. EXPLORE by asking open ended questions. Eliminate your opinion and commit to being genuinely curious. Understand you do not now the why behind your co-worker’s behavior. Use words like “what” or “how” and ask yourself if you are gaining new insight.
3. Let the OTHER person ACKNOWLEDGE that you understand them. Repeat back to them an accurate synopsis of their perspective. “John, do I understand you correctly that you feel the following has led to a lack of trust between us …?”
If John tells you that you have missed the boat, do not give up, just begin the EXPLORE process again.
4. Now, RESPOND. It is ok if your response is opposite of the position you ACKNOWLEDGED in STEP 3.
Moving through the steps is important because by doing so you open up space for clarity. You allow the other person to be heard. You demonstrate attention and respect. You eliminate assumption.