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We have all been there: in the middle of a bad situation with no idea of how to calm down, change course, and resolve the issue. As leaders, it is our job to help our employees when they are caught in rotten work day circumstances. Blog post writer Rosabeth Moss Kanter, author of Confidence and SuperCorp, offers us three communication steps for helping stuck employees.

First, she writes, empathize. “Listen, and then show that you’ve heard by recapping how it looks from the team members’ point of view.” We all want to be heard, especially during or after a tough moment.

Secondly, be supportive by strategizing solutions with your staff. Offer to help with one action item, she says, but give support though letting them do what “they think needs to be done.”

Lastly, ask your staff: “Why are we doing this in the first place?” Kanter believes uplifting people by recalling higher principles and a larger perspective eases ugly situations and reenergizes everyone. This question takes us out of the hard moment, and when we dive back in, we are better able deal with difficulty.

So as you strive to be a leader and partner in a constantly challenging and often tense business world, consider the possibilities that Kanter suggests as a means to helping create a more supportive, positive and growth-oriented environment.

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