6. Listen to their words, then read between their lines.
Every employee has a story to tell. It is their story that may be or may not be like any other story. They care more about their story v anyone else’s story. Reflect back to ensure shared understanding. Ask them to have a seat, that way you are communicating on the same level. At some point in the dialogue start asking the questions to separate fact from feeling. Feelings are emotional editorializing. Do not agree or disagree with feelings. Peel the layers away to find actionable facts.
Then exercise your Cy Wakeman escape clause, “You’ve given me a lot to think about, let’s get back together tomorrow.”