Calling in is an approach aimed at encouraging someone to change their problematic or harmful behavior by inviting them into a conversation with the goal of listening and building mutual understanding.
For example, a preceptor might “call in” a colleague by pulling them aside in private and asking questions such as, “What was your intention when you said [problematic or harmful words]?” or “Can you help me understand what was going on when you [engaged in problematic or harmful behavior]?”
When calling someone in, it is important to listen with compassion, patience, and empathy while also being frank about the harmful effects of the person’s actions or words in order to help them understand.
This approach is appropriate for situations in which you have an established relationship with the other person and you both hold similar levels of power, making it safe to have such a conversation. It is not appropriate for addressing major issues such as sexual misconduct or egregious racial microaggressions, especially when there are significant differences in power involved.
“Calling in” stands in contrast to a “calling out” approach, which involves openly challenging and shutting down unacceptable behavior in the moment.