As leaders—whether within an agency, or in-house on a marketing or communications team—being a strategic partner and source of calm rather than a “yes person” is critical to help senior leadership successfully navigate, manage and communicate uncertainty. Used to consuming frenetic, contradictory news cycles, field short deadlines and high demands, communications professionals are born to lead through these moments.

Whether you’re leading a marketing communications team in-house, or partnering with multiple clients to weather the latest wave of disaster prepping, here are three things to remember when working with clients and colleagues to make the best, most strategic business decisions.

Ignite your curiosity. Asking questions creates a human connection; it shows we care. As recession fears and plans to counteract circulate, engage in conversations around issues like how the industry has changed recently, how industry trends are likely to impact market share and quarterly financial targets,what are financial targets for this quarter and the most profitable part of the business with your clients and colleagues. By understanding the pressures and expectations they’re living with, you can proactively provide perspective that will inform and guide their decision making.

Point out the elephant in the room with data. People working in client service often mistake service for servitude. Fear of hurting feelings or upsetting people regularly leads to sugar-coating, lack of clarity, and poor decision making or misalignment. It can be hard to ‘say it like it is’ but doing so will lead to a better result. And, when possible, do the advanced homework – whether that is conversations with the target audience, pulling sales data or collecting feedback from reporters, having proof points helps remove irrational emotion from a difficult subject.

Be receptive. Use the feedback you receive from your questions and observations to ensure your recommendations/solutions appropriately reflect the collaborative efforts of all involved so that the success and failure of the idea become mutually exclusive. For example, seeking and incorporating feedback to strategic briefs so that initial documents clearly reflect what you previously discussed.

As recession conversations continue, it’s easy to fall prey to the panic, but approaching difficult conversations from a place of curiosity, honesty and collaboration will ensure you’re being a partner, not a yes person.