1. Ask. Probe to find out more about the problem. Ask two or three questions to clarify your assumptions, learn what the employee thinks or collect more facts.
2. Support. Give a one-sentence pat on the back. Examples: “You’ve done everything right so far” or “You’re going to persevere and survive this.”
3. Advise. Now that you’ve probed and supported, offer insight. By bonding with employees first, you ensure they’re ready to accept your advice.