Category Archives: Crucial Accountability

Crucial Accountability QA

How to be a Friendly and Effective Boss

Al Switzler

Al Switzler is coauthor of four New York Times bestsellers, Crucial Conversations, Crucial Accountability, Influencer, and Change Anything.


Crucial Conversations

Q  Dear Crucial Skills,

I’ve been told that one cannot be an effective boss by being a friend to those one supervises. I have some serious concerns about this as I feel that being a friend at work is a good way to gain employee confidence and performance.

I’m concerned about where to draw the line between being a friend and being a boss, and how to set the proper environment where friendship is allowed and being a boss is respected. How can I be both an effective boss and also a friend to my employees?

Friendly Boss

A Dear Friendly,

The challenge you’ve presented is the perfect example of a Fool’s Choice. What we mean by this is that we can only see two options that seem diametrically opposed. We don’t see it as a false dichotomy, but as an unfortunate reality. We found these Fool’s Choices to be ubiquitous when doing our research for Crucial Conversations. For example, we commonly heard people say things like, “I can speak up and be mean, or I can bite my tongue and be nice.” They felt they could be candid or courteous, but not both. Those who mastered crucial conversations found the “and.” They learned how to be candid and courteous. And so it is with managing or leading. In this bit of advice, I’ll try to help you see that you can be friendly and be a boss.

I’ll start with a story that shows one extreme of the term “boss.” I recall a leader telling me that when he was promoted, his boss gave him this advice: “Congratulations. Now get out there and fire a person or two so the rest of your team will know that you have power.” This is clearly a bad example. This person’s manager had a perception of leadership that focused on control, power, and even intimidation. From our research, we know that some people value quality over harmony; they value getting results over getting along. They value performance indicators like productivity and budget.

Another leader I know was told by her boss, “Don’t give praise to people for doing their job. It only makes them weak.” One of the reasons people find themselves in this Fool’s Choice comes from seeing bosses manage in this manner. And understandably, they don’t want to be like that.

Some people move to this extreme style of management because they have seen the consequences of bosses who are too friendly—who value getting along more than getting results. Unlike their results-driven counterparts, these friendly bosses fear being the bad guy to the degree that they fail to hold people accountable or press for continuous improvement. On the other hand, their birthday celebrations are superb and they highly value performance indicators like morale and job satisfaction. I should point out that there is a long line of leadership research that shows the negative consequences of managing in either of these extreme ways.

What we found from studying leaders and team members is that the best performers don’t fall into the trap of managing on one end of the continuum or the other. They value getting results and getting along. They value quality and productivity as much as they value harmony. They can clarify high expectations and rally a team to be both motivated and able to accomplish them. They can have tough, honest, candid conversations with care and courtesy. They have found the “and.” They know how to be both friendly and highly productive bosses.
So here is some specific advice to help you find your “and.”

1. Don’t fall for the Fool’s Choice. There are more options than being a boss or being a friend. You can value accountability and morale; you can find ways to get input and get execution. Get out of this trap by moving to dialogue—with your own boss and with your team.

2. Clarify how you can work to achieve both purposes. Put two columns on a sheet of paper. In one column, brainstorm together and clarify what tactics and measures you could use to make sure that key indicators like productivity, schedule, quality, and budget are being met. How will you set clear goals? How will people be held accountable? How will you deal with setbacks or gaps? In the next column, clarify the more people-centric measures and tactics. What goals will you set? How will you measure job satisfaction and morale? How will you praise people and celebrate successes? The outcome of this exercise will not only be clarity and balance, but you will also get beyond the Fool’s Choice.

3. Determine who does what by when and follow up. Good plans with frequent follow up give your boss, your team, and yourself confidence that there will be accountability and that nothing will fall through the cracks. Also, good plans help you know the specific steps and expectations you have to help you accomplish the results that make for a “friendly” workplace.

In closing, I want to share an observation that I’ve had many times over the years. Sometimes our greatest strengths can become a weakness. For example, if the manager is the most experienced and expert person in the room, she can sometimes hear points of information from her team, and then jump to a conclusion that skips three additional points. Her speed of thinking now leaves half or more of the team in the dark. The boss says, “Here’s what we’ll do…” and moves to the next issue. Her strength (speed and problem solving) has become a weakness because her team would describe her as controlling and impatient. To apply this to your case, don’t let your friendliness slide into missing deadlines, overspending budgets, or not holding people accountable. And don’t let your firm management style slide into not praising, involving, or smiling. The choice is yours.

I wish you well,



Public Displays of Rudeness

During the month of July, we publish “best of” content. The following article was first published on August 23, 2011.

Al Switzler

Al Switzler is coauthor of four bestselling books, Change Anything, Crucial Conversations, Crucial Accountability, and Influencer.


Crucial Confrontations

Q Dear Crucial Skills,

What do you do when someone is rude or publicly cuts down another person in the middle of a meeting? When this happens, I have noticed that group dynamics change as people become quiet or even jump on the bandwagon and gang up on the speaker. I have given private feedback to individuals after such meetings, but the moment is damaged and the group’s ability to communicate and make good decisions is compromised. How do you handle group conflict in the moment and return to safety without publicly chastising someone?

Cut Down

A Dear Cut Down,

If your team had ground rules, team members would know what is and is not acceptable, and they would be able to (courteously) tell each other when someone said something that was rude or cutting, and remind others that they need to act in accordance with their ground rules. The little amount of time it takes to clarify ground rules is a good way to prevent this behavior and presents a clear option for a quick fix.

If your team hasn’t already done so, you need to clarify expectations. In the best case, your team leader will help the team agree to three or four specific behaviors that will help them perform well as a team. Here are several examples:

  • “When we feel a teammate has let us or the team down, we will talk to them privately in a courteous manner.”
  • “We will give feedback to our teammates in ways that are honest, detailed, and courteous.”
  • “We will keep confidential what is spoken in confidence in our meetings.”

But how do you handle rudeness when you don’t have pre-established expectations? One of the tactics we teach people in Crucial Accountability is to speak up in these awkward moments by making a statement about what is expected vs. what is observed. In the very moment when the cutting remark is made, any member of the team could state, “I think meetings like this work better if we speak courteously to one another. That last comment was less than courteous. Can we avoid rude or sarcastic comments?” It often just takes one person to make a big difference.

Now I’m not so naïve as to believe that one such comment will always stop the attack. It often can and does, but not always. This is why we teach people to clarify the conversation they really need to have. We define three types of conversations—Content, Pattern, or Relationship. When the comment is a one-time comment, the conversation needs to focus on content. The statement I mentioned above is a content statement. You mentioned in your question that you’ve talked privately to individuals about this. When they make rude or cutting comments again, you have a pattern. When you talk to the person, privately, you need to talk about the pattern and the negative consequences of this pattern. And you need to get a commitment that they won’t do it again. If the person continues to be rude, it is not only affecting the team, it is affecting your working relationship. If the person is rude again, you need to talk about the relationship and how their continued bad behavior is affecting the way you can work together. You need to be clear about the actions you will take if they continue to make these comments. If you are a supervisor, that can mean progressive discipline. If you are a peer, it might mean that you will stop the progress of the meeting and ask that the team figure out how to fix this issue.

What do you do to get the feelings and the meeting back on track? I suggest you take a short break—five or ten minutes. There are many reasons for doing this. When someone says something rude or cutting, everyone in the room becomes emotional because they are experiencing little (or big) bursts of adrenaline. If you say something like, “Let’s calm down and continue this discussion in a few minutes,” you are appealing to the cognitive system, which works fast. But when emotions are high, people need a little time to cool down. Call a time out. When you reconvene, you will have the opportunity to invite the group to act in ways that will help the team conduct the meeting in a safe and effective way.

So in short, set ground rules if you can, speak up when you need to, call a time out to restore safety, and remind the group that some actions help while some hurt.

Best wishes,


Crucial Accountability QA

Dealing with Toxic Gossip at Work

David Maxfield

David Maxfield is coauthor of three New York Times bestsellers, Crucial Accountability, Influencer, and Change Anything.


Crucial Conversations

During the month of July, we publish “best of” content. The following article was first published on August 1, 2012.

Q  Dear Crucial Skills,

One of my main concerns at work is how we talk about each other—the staff lunchroom can be especially toxic. What feels most shocking to me is how our boss is often thrown under the bus.

I am having a hard time thinking of an appropriate comment to make as I feel that listening to these conversations implies my agreement. And I have to admit there have been times when I’ve piped up with a rude wise-crack or two, so I don’t want to seem like I’m above it all. There are times I just avoid the lunchroom and I know others do, too.

What suggestions do you have for responding to wisecracks made behind coworkers’ backs?

Staying In From the Lunch Room

A Dear Staying In,

You’ve done a great job of describing a familiar problem. I bet many of us have been in the same situation. We’re joking around in the lunchroom, one-upping each other’s wisecracks, when somehow the topic turns to our boss or maybe to a colleague. We keep on with the jokes and banter, but at some point, it crosses the line from play to poison. As you said, we’re throwing someone under the bus—all in the name of fun.

In these situations, silence isn’t golden. It’s agreement. When we don’t speak up, we show our support for the people doing the badmouthing. We’re helping to throw the person under the bus.

It’s this kind of poisonous conversation that causes bad morale to spread across a team or organization. It begins with a seemingly innocuous joke, which is really the leading edge of an attack. Instead of saying something like, “I see it differently,” others in the conversation remain silent or add to the wisecrack, amplifying the attack.

The group is creating a villain story at someone’s expense, without stopping to question the story’s truth or giving the person a chance to respond. As the story is repeated and grows unchallenged, it becomes full of what the comedian Stephen Colbert calls “truthiness.” It may be several steps away from the facts, but it feels true. And it poisons the workplace.

Why do we do this? Sometimes it’s because we don’t know the person’s true motives and we assume the worst. Jamaicans have a saying, “If you don’t know a man, you’ll invent him.” The implication is that we’ll invent him as an ogre. Few of us know our managers—especially senior leaders—really well. We aren’t privy to their information or motives. And as the saying suggests, we judge them harshly. We don’t give them the benefit of the doubt.

Sometimes these conversations are as simple as failing to give the benefit of the doubt, but there is often more going on. Sometimes your colleague is motivated by jealousy, revenge, fear, or dislike. Regardless of the cause, you need to speak up when you see this inappropriate behavior.

Use CPR to decide what to say. CPR stands for Content, Pattern, and Relationship. CPR can help you think about a problem and decide how to focus your conversation.

Suppose a person at your table says, “Sure, the boss says she’s trying to improve staffing levels, but that’s just to shut us up. What she really means is ‘staphing‘ levels—you know like a staph infection!”

A statement like this may contain issues related to Content, Pattern, and Relationship. As a problem-solver, you can decide which issues are most central to you. You can use CPR to focus on the issues that are closest to the heart of your concerns.

Content: Addressing the content means you focus on the facts in the person’s statement. Focusing on content is usually the simplest and safest way to respond because you aren’t drawing any conclusions beyond what the person has just said. An example of addressing the content would be, “I don’t think she’s trying to shut us up. Why do you think that?” Addressing the content frames the problem as a question of facts. It focuses the discussion toward what your manager said and why your colleague doesn’t believe it.

Pattern: Suppose this comment is just one in a pattern of passive-aggressive comments this group uses to badmouth the boss. You might address this pattern by saying, “I like the way we kid around with each other, but not when we start to throw people under the bus—people who aren’t here to defend themselves.” Addressing the pattern focuses on your colleagues’ inappropriate behavior. It’s a tougher discussion, but it may be closer to the heart of your concern.

Relationship: The long-term impact of these corrosive conversations is the undermining of trust and respect. The relationship with the boss is put at risk. If you feel that people’s comments reveal a rupture in basic trust and respect for your boss, then you might address the relationship itself: “It sounds as if you’re questioning whether you can trust and respect her. Is that right? If that’s your concern, then I think you need to find a way to talk with her and hash it out.” Note that you may decide to have this conversation in private, instead of putting the person on the spot in front of everyone. Again, it’s a tough discussion, but it may be closer to the heart of your concern.

The mistake many problem-solvers make is to focus on content, the simple and safe route, when their true concern involves the pattern or relationship. They address a problem, but it’s not the problem they really care about.

This CPR skill can be used in a wide variety of situations, not just in confronting gossip about your boss. The next time you have a concern, use CPR to decide which part of the concern to address. CPR can help you focus on the heart of your gossip problem.


Crucial Application

Crucial Applications: Three Keys to Holding Coworkers Accountable

According to our recent poll, three in four employees quickly attribute their coworkers’ bad behavior to lack of motivation while only one in ten consider ability deficits. As a result, they avoid holding problem colleagues accountable, engage in costly workarounds, and perpetuate the very problems they detest.

Those who think more generously and carefully about the cause for others’ misbehavior are far more likely to speak up. They are also more disposed to explore potential motivation and ability barriers to their coworkers’ performance, and often report success in resolving the issue. Here are three tips for holding coworkers accountable by correctly diagnosing their bad behavior:

1. Identify the right problem. When approaching your coworker, think “CPR” (Content, Pattern, Relationship). Our natural inclination is to talk content—the immediate offense. But if and when your coworker continues to behave poorly, it’s time to talk about the pattern of bad behavior. If the infraction continues, talk about the long-term damage the pattern is having on your relationship of trust and dependability.
2. Make it motivating. If the other person is able to do what’s been asked, but chooses not to, start by making the invisible visible. Talk about the natural consequences—both good and bad—he or she cares about. What are the effects of his or her behavior on other employees, customers, share owners, etc.?
3. Make it easy. If you find out the problem is not due to motivation, then it’s likely due to an ability barrier. Maybe your expectations aren’t realistic. Maybe you didn’t provide him or her with the right tools. Maybe he or she is constrained because of bureaucracy. Whatever the constraints, discover them and make changes. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for your coworker to meet the expectation.

To view an entertaining video about unaccountable coworkers, access an online game to test your accountability skills, and learn more about our new Crucial Accountability Training, visit

Special Announcement

Special Announcement: Introducing Crucial Accountability Training

In every organization, you’ll find renegades who break rules or fail to live up to their end of the bargain. We call these troublemakers “The UnAccountables.” They create problems that are so stubborn they require extra vigilance. Watch our new video to see a showdown between one manager and his unaccountable direct report.

To prevent showdowns like this from happening in organizations across the world, we’re pleased to announce the release of Crucial Accountability Training, the update of our popular Crucial Confrontations Training course. New features include:

  • New and updated video-based instruction
  • Streamlined content in a new flow that’s easier to learn and train
  • Updated Crucial Accountability model

Learn more about the course, watch more videos, and play our game to see how well you do when it comes to holding others accountable.

Crucial Accountability QA

Holding Peers Accountable Without Management’s Support

Joseph Grenny

Joseph Grenny is coauthor of four New York Times bestsellers, Crucial Conversations, Crucial Accountability, Influencer, and Change Anything.


Crucial Accountability

QDear Crucial Skills,

How do you hold your peers accountable when you don’t have the support of their supervisor, or in some instances the support of your own supervisor?

I work with a person in a cross-functional team who is disorganized (he loses things on a regular basis and asks me to resend things), unprepared (we show up for a meeting and he’s still setting up equipment so we have to wait to start the meeting), and shows up to meetings late or doesn’t show up at all. Sometimes, when I come into his office, he is working on a project for his personal company, but he continues to complain that he has too much work and can’t get our projects done.

Because of the workflow, I field a steady stream of complaints about him where I’m literally left saying, “What do you want me to do? I’m not his boss.” I’ve tried discussing things with him directly and I’ve tried discussing things with his supervisor, but no one will hold this person accountable and I’m not allowed to. What do I do?

Out of Ideas

A Dear Out of Ideas,

You’re off to a good start. I’m impressed that you have attempted to directly address the issue with him and with his supervisor. Nice job.

To help you think about any remaining options, let me suggest five levels of influence you can use when dealing with problem peers. Use them in order. In other words, don’t move to #2 until you’ve effectively attempted #1, and so on.

1. Content. The first time you have problems, present them immediately and directly to the individual involved. Don’t wait for it to happen again. Don’t wait until it really ticks you off. Do it right away. Remember also to do it skillfully—create safety, master your stories, etc. For example, the “content” conversation you might have would address “You did not send me the report by Wednesday as you committed. What happened?”

2. Pattern. When it is clear that a pattern is emerging, you must have an entirely different kind of conversation that leads to different kinds of solutions. Many people misunderstand pattern conversations. They think it simply means addressing, “You failed to get me the report on time the last four weeks in a row” as opposed to, “You got the report to me late again this week!” This is true. You must be sure to raise the right issue, but you must also be sure the agreements you come to at the end address the true nature of the pattern. For example, “I’m sorry, I have been really irresponsible. I will do better next week. I promise!” is insufficient.

You must stay in the conversation longer to understand what general causes there are and to develop solutions you believe will address those general causes. For example, if the person is disorganized, what will they do to get more organized? If they are overcommitted, how will they manage that? If they see this as a low priority task, what will change next time? If the only thing that changes is they want to avoid another crucial conversation with you, you’ll get temporary motivation but nothing sustainable. Be sure to solve the pattern problem.

3. Relationship. This is also a conversation you have directly with the individual. Notice we’re at influence level three and we haven’t had to involve anyone else yet. However, the nature of the conversation changes each time. At this level, you are no longer trying to solve the pattern. Rather, you are discussing ways to restructure the relationship around it. The person has repeatedly demonstrated an inability and/or unwillingness to keep prior commitments. At this level you must say, “I need a different way of working together—one that does not put you on my critical path. I want to be clear that this isn’t the way I want it. I would much prefer to work in the way we have attempted, but if conditions change to restore my trust, let’s go back to that relationship. However, until I have that trust, here is what I will need to do . . .”

Relationship problems are often solved by developing new boundaries or roles that work for you. The key is that these new boundaries must be explicitly shared with the other person—not simply taken behind his or her back. For example, we often start doing others’ work as a workaround to their weaknesses without letting them know we are doing this. That is acting out rather than talking out the problem. Influence level three is candidly discussing with them the steps you will take to ensure you have control of your destiny. For instance, if part of the problem is someone’s abusive behavior, this could include letting him or her know that until you see changes you will not have contact with him or her. Relationship conversations are often the level at which you must involve other stakeholders—the person’s boss, your boss, HR, etc. But again, you must let the person know that you have exhausted your options and will need to be honest with those who have responsibility to address the concerns—or who may be affected by them.

4. Upward Influence. Level four is sometimes needed as part of level three. Let’s say the person on your cross-functional team was responsible for logistics and you are at the point of using other resources to get that done. You should now hand the influence problem over to the person who should own it next—your coworker’s boss. Don’t do it in the form of blame or to vilify the person. In fact, do it gracefully, acknowledging that you may be part of the problem in a way you weren’t aware of and are open to feedback if the person’s boss discovers something you had not seen.

At the same time, let him or her know what you’ve attempted to do to solve it and why you need to take the steps you’re taking. If your boss will be affected by the actions you are taking, you may need to involve him or her as well. Once again, be careful that you are not engaging in gossip or trying to undermine the other party. Check your motives. Simply let others own the part of the problem they need to own, while taking steps you need to take. Let them know the natural consequences of the problem—without overstating them—and why your response is necessary for your own quality of work life and results.

5. Renegotiate Work. The fifth level of influence is needed if the problem persists and your coping strategies fail to help you ensure a reasonable quality of work life as well as control over your results. If this happens, you may need to have a “relationship” conversation with your boss. Perhaps your boss and others have failed to address the accountability problem with the other person in a way that continues to cause problems for you, you may choose to ask for a different assignment, more organizational distance from the individual, or reduced commitments on your shared project. You may say, “I can continue to work with Jack, but I will need more flexibility on our deadlines due to the unpredictability of his contributions.”

Sometimes, the best way to influence your boss or others in leadership positions is to help them experience the consequences of the problem you are facing. Busy people don’t like to take on new problems, so it’s often the case that when you share your accountability concerns they minimize them by avoiding thinking about them in more visceral ways. Level five lets them experience it more palpably as you communicate what you will need in order to work in this low accountability reality.

None of the above advice is a magic pill—it is simply the logical process you need to pursue in order to take responsibility for your own life and your own results. If you do so in a 100 percent respectful and 100 percent honest way, you will have far more influence than you might think. And if things don’t improve to your satisfaction, you must take responsibility for either accepting a situation you can no longer influence or removing yourself from it.

I wish you all the best.


Crucial Accountability QA

Confronting Troublemakers with the Facts

Kerry Patterson

Kerry Patterson is coauthor of four New York Times bestsellers, Change Anything, Crucial Conversations, Crucial Confrontations, and Influencer.


Crucial Conversations

Q  Dear Crucial Skills,

A couple of my employees tend to get all the other staff in an uproar. They constantly turn people against each other and pick on the newbies. How can I address my employees’ tendency to “stir the pot” and help them recognize the harm they’re doing to our work environment?

Mitigating Harm

A Dear Mitigating,

Thanks for this interesting and important question. We’re often asked how to give feedback to direct reports who act in ways that cause problems. Sometimes these challenging individuals are described as having “bad chemistry” with their coworkers. On other occasions, they’re labeled “hard to work with,” “troublesome,” or even worse. In this case, the individuals in question cause uproars, turn people against each other, stir the pot, and pick on newbies.

As their supervisor, it’s your job to do something about the bad behavior. But what?

At first glance, suggesting that the individuals in question cause an uproar or turn people against each other may sound like a description of what they do, when, in fact, these particular words describe the effect not the cause. They behave in some particular way to cause an uproar or turn people against each other, but it’s impossible to decipher from these expressions alone which from millions of possible behaviors they enact.

If you expect the individuals in question to improve, they’ll need to change their behaviors—swapping out the old and replacing them with new. As a leader, you’ll need to adeptly describe, in detail, what they’re currently doing to cause an uproar and the other effects you’ve described.

Describing behaviors requires an understanding of exactly what the offending parties do along with the ability to describe their behavior in a way that is crystal clear. You have to see what others actually do and then metaphorically hold up a mirror so they can see what they need to change.

This can get complicated. When you suggest that the problem employees “stir the pot,” the metaphor masks the actual actions they take. If you tell them they “stir the pot,” they might know what you’re hinting at and change, but it seems unlikely. The same is true with expressions like “picking on newbies.” You include a verb that hints of certain behaviors, but alas, also leaves a lot to the imagination.

When I talk with people facing similar challenges and ask them to provide the behaviors (causes) behind the effects or vague conclusion they describe to me, they often can’t. Their conclusions are firm: “They constantly stir the pot.” That part they feel strongly about, but when I probe for detail, they aren’t able to describe the behaviors the other person enacts. They remember their emotional reaction far more clearly than the actions that took them there.

For instance, when trying to help a supervisor with a salesman who was “socially backward,” I asked for a detailed description of what the salesman did. The supervisor explained that he was “a nerd, a geek—you know, a dweeb.” The supervisor knew what he had concluded about the fellow, and was able to come up with synonyms, but couldn’t describe any actual behaviors.

So I asked him, “The last time he did something you thought was nerdy, what exactly did he do?”

“He looked like he had no confidence in what he was saying,” the supervisor responded. (Also a vague conclusion.)

“And what made him appear unconfident to you?” I continued to probe.

“He stared at the floor. He started a sentence three different times. He spoke in a low voice. The minute the person disagreed, he backed off even though he was correct . . .” and so forth.

At last, behaviors the other person might be able to recognize and replace. This is what the salesman needed to hear and correct.

Most of us use shorthand negative adjectives along with vague outcomes when talking with others because such simple expression often works for us. “Quit teasing your brother!” you bark to your son. He knows exactly what he’s doing and what to do instead. He knows because you’ve told him before—focusing on his actual actions. “Yes, I know you said his new shirt was cool, but you said it in a sing-song tone and rolled your eyes—and that appeared insincere.” You’ve described several versions of “teasing” to your son, so now when he does it, you can address it in shorthand.

However, with direct reports, where we don’t have a long history and the specialized code that comes with it, we need to carefully observe others in actions, take note of the actual behaviors that aren’t working, share those in a direct and non-punitive way, check to see if they understood us, and then talk about replacement behaviors.

I’m assuming you’ve watched your direct reports in action and have a whole list of undesirable actions they take, so you’re ready to hold a discussion in a way that will be helpful.

Start by holding separate conversations—one with each employee. Privacy is essential. Select no more than one or two of the areas you’d like to talk about. You don’t want to overwhelm the other person. Start by describing the undesirable behavior and what you’d like to see instead. Share three or four example actions and take special care to focus on their behaviors, not your conclusions. Share actions you’ve personally observed—hopefully recently. Open the conversation for questions. Ask the other person if he or she sees it differently, and jointly develop a plan of action.

Obviously, there’s a lot that goes into such a feedback discussion. Today, I chose to focus on one element that can turn a painful and vague discussion into a helpful feedback session. Focus on behaviors. Become skilled at both observing and describing them. Know the difference between a behavior and a result or conclusion. Help the other person see what he or she is doing, not merely what you think about him or her.