Thursday, August 21, 2014

3 Ways to Deal with a Tough Situation at Work

Wouldn’t it be ideal if our work environments were guaranteed to be free of tough situations with a coworker, boss, or colleague? Unfortunately, this is usually not reality.  When you encounter challenging circumstances, it is critical to know how to handle it effectively. I received a call recently from a woman struggling with her manager. She felt the manager was being difficult, using sarcasm and backhanded passive aggressive comments. She asked what she should do. I gave her my standard list of options, here are my best suggestions for navigating a difficult situation in the workplace:

Deal with it Directly

Address the person openly and constructively. Change can only come if there is honest dialogue. Make sure to keep your tone from being accusatory or hostile. See Secrets of Straight Talk for tips on how to best do this. While a dialogue alone may not work, it could lay the foundation for a resolution that is mutually acceptable. Without a conversation, I can guarantee you that nothing will improve on its own.

Learn to Cope in a Healthy Way

Don’t say anything and instead choose to absorb the stress and cope with the situation in a healthy way. Channel your negative stress into something that’s constructive, whether that’s physical exercise, reflective journaling, or strategizing with a professional coach. Additionally, practicing yoga or meditation can help you keep your perspective, along with framing the situation with the question, “In the grand scheme of things, how important will this situation be in a year? Two years?” Find an outlet and you’ll be surprised how freeing it feels to work through your frustrations constructively.

Move On

Make the adult decision to move on. Sometimes you simply cannot change a situation, and chronically complaining or constantly worrying about it will not alter the circumstances. Building conflict serves no purpose but to escalate a tense situation, so instead of wishing things would improve, choose a better situation for yourself. This is not admitting defeat – it’s acknowledging that your time, energy, and mental health are all important and worthy of respect and consideration.

The woman later called me to let me know that she had chosen option 1, sat down with her boss and shared her honest feedback. She said it completely changed how her manager treated her and both were successfully working together. Good news.

While tough situations at work cannot always be avoided, it’s essential that you learn how to manage your response by either dealing with the issue directly or finding a way that helps you cope with the stress in a healthy manner. It’s also vital to recognize when the situation is no longer worth it and it’s time to walk away.

What are your best tips for dealing with tough situations in the workplace?

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