An easy way to disarm any interpersonal problem is simply say, “Let’s figure this out.”

Recently I was talking to a friend about some problems she was having with a direct report who was creating anxiety and tension between them both. It wasn’t until after she left that I wondered why she didn’t just talk to the girl directly.

This happens all of the time at work or at home. Even with good friends. A conflict or problem arises, and we take it upon ourselves to find a way to fix it. My question is, if a problem involves two people (or three or four), why should one person be expected to solve it? Why not fix it together?

Taking the first step is the hardest part, but it shows courage and compassion. When approached with care and humility, you can create a helpful and supportive environment to openly discuss issues and create solutions that work for everyone involved. All parties should take responsibility for their role in the wellbeing of the relationship now and going forward.

Don’t put it off; take the initiative to figure it out together today. It might be uncomfortable at first, but if all goes well, this will bring you closer and make the relationship (or team) stronger.