Tension can crop up anywhere—especially when your company culture is made up of people with diverse backgrounds, viewpoints and experience levels.

You can choose to avoid that tension, surrounding yourself only with people who share the same background and beliefs, but that limits your perspective, hinders problem-solving and risks reinforcing negative behaviors.

Instead of retreating from tension, a new article from Thin Difference asserts that using one simple phrase can help you become a tension-reducer: “Help me understand…”

This phrase communicates a posture of humility, the article says, showing you recognize that you don’t know everything and that the other person has a perspective you’d like to learn more about.

Beginning a statement with “Help me understand…” works well when:

  • You’re confused about a particular action or idea expressed.
  • You immediately feel the urge to criticize.
  • You know someone comes from a completely different background.

Make the decision to be a tension-reducer instead of a tension-creator. When a pressure point is encountered, take a step back, assume a posture of learning and humility, and resolve to reduce tension.

See the full article: Reducing Tension: The Power of “Help Me Understand.”