If your team is feeling stuck, the problem might involve issues that are difficult to discuss — conflict between two team members, for example, or an underperforming employee. Harvard Business Review’s Lisa Zigarmi and Julie Diamond offer tips to address these issues head-on. It’s all about the framing, they say.

Framing means defining the issue and setting the container for the conversation. A frame helps people organize their thoughts, feelings and experiences, and ultimately, allows them to take action on the issue. Think of it as the Swiss army knife of leadership — it’s one of the most useful skills a leader can use, one that solves a variety of problems, including undiscussables.

Framing the elephant in the room is seen as tangential, time intensive and a delay of progress. Yet, in fact, the biggest obstacle to progress are precisely the unspoken differences, obstructive behaviors and energy-draining moods that remain unaddressed.

Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Identify to yourself what’s impeding progress.

As a leader, your first step is to define what is causing resistance or blocking forward motion. This could be a submerged tension, an inconsistency in action, a difference of opinion, a negative emotion, passive agreement or an unconscious pattern.

Step 2: Look at the situation with curiosity.

The next step is to open up your understanding of the issue. It helps to imagine that you are an extraterrestrial observing the situation for the first time. You may ask yourself, what do I notice? What possibilities exist besides my ideas about what’s happening? What else could be going on? By giving yourself distance, you can more easily identify other possibilities without becoming emotionally triggered.

Step 3: Name it. More often than not, something is stuck or undiscussable because it is thought to be threatening, undervalued or simply wrong. Naming it and holding it without judgment opens up the floor for learning and discussion with those involved.

Step 4: Set an intention with others for learning.

This step helps you, as the leader, create a psychologically safe container for discussing something potentially threatening to others.

Step 5: Invite reflection and input from others.

Your final step is to now engage others and invite them into the frame — allowing all conversation participants to address a shared reality. This invitation transforms the undiscussable, or stuckness, to an issue that everyone can focus on. This step can be as simple as saying, “What do you think?” or “How do you see it?”