Become more objective

To be both fair and professional at work, you must strip away your biases and preconceived notions and look at all situations objectively.

In his book, Powered by Storytelling: Excavate, Craft, and Present Stories to Transform Business Communication, Murray Nossel recommends using the “What happened?” method to do just that. Here’s the gist of it:

Focus on only what you have observed with your five senses. Remove everything else from your communication. Slow down and really think about what you observed and work hard to not draw any conclusions.

Discuss only what happened. Do not include what you thought about a situation, discuss your feelings or share your opinions. This part takes a great deal of discipline and practice because it’s all too easy to make assumptions about others’ actions or make judgments.

Leave room for clarification. If you have already made up your mind about why the person behaved or performed in a certain way, you won’t ask constructive questions to get to the root of the issue.