Handling Difficult Situations at Work: Examples and Solutions

Handling Difficult Situations at Work: Examples and Solutions


Facing complex situations, and dealing with last-minute challenges is going to be a part of your workplace. The office-scenarios will not always be a smooth ride. You will be faced with difficult situations at work. With better perspectives and a positive approach, you can right away handle difficult situations that come up in your workplace gracefully. Let's help you with it through some ideas we have.

6 Most Common Difficult Situations or Scenarios at Work

Difficult situations at work could start anywhere, but when you sum them up, it all falls under these six major categories.

1. Maintaining Rapports with colleagues

One of the most common but challenging workplace scenarios is handling the people you work with. You will have good ones and the tough ones. Preparing yourself better to deal with tough people will resolve most of your workplace difficulties. Your colleagues could get easily offended for just a simple disagreement in views you share. Suggestions to improve could be mistaken as something else and cause you a bad rapport. Difficult situations at work arise in most cases, when handling people goes wrong.

2. Meeting Deadlines

Handling last-minute changes in your project could be as difficult as meeting the project deadlines. Unfortunate medical emergency by your colleague could put your ongoing project completion in a difficult spot. At times, people in your team could find it hard to resolve an issue and could take more time. Lazy co-workers, irresponsible team members, urgent client-requests, it could be anything. It can all bring you difficult issues to handle in your workplace.

3. Acknowledgments

Not getting the proper acknowledgment for your works, ideas, results, and in particular, someone taking credit for your work triggers many problems at the workplace.

4. Resolving Conflicts

Ideas and point-of-views differ with every person in your team. Bringing them all can be difficult. Most importantly, getting your team together to accept and work with your idea could be even more challenging. When appropriately dealt with, the Conflict-of-ideas can get healthy. Most people tend to take opinions personally, and things get conveyed in the wrong sense. It could bring difficulties in handling the relationship with co-workers.

5. Setting Boundaries

People should have boundaries. No one's to be taken granted, especially the young people who are new to the workplace. Just because you're new to the team doesn't mean you should do all the work. You should do what you are assigned to do. To a certain extent, you can be of help in sharing other's work, but things get difficult when people start dumping you with their works. Sometimes if the person is your boss, you will find it very difficult to handle the situation.

6. Handling Top Management Chain

If something goes wrong with your co-worker, you can resolve it between you both or can take it up to your immediate boss. What if, the difficulty you are going through is because of the boss himself? You'll be oscillating with; should I leave this or should I take it up with higher officials. Taking issues with appropriate management chains can save you a lot of troubles.

Now that we have seen some common-grounds that cause you difficult situations at the workplace let's proceed further in resolving it. The best way to solve is to handle your difficult situations constructively through subtle approaches.

For better understanding, here are a few examples of difficult situations you could come across at work and how you can handle it.

What if your senior colleague is not interested in your ideas and doesn't approve your proposals?

You can handle it by:

i) Try to have an open face-to-face conversation.

ii) Make sure that you have good data to back your ideas.

iii) Sometimes people don't like to be left-out or play second-in-command in a project. It could also be the reason why the senior is refusing to approve.

iv) Understand what's going on with them. The senior could be moving to another team soon, or it can be about their promotion, or they might not be interested in taking anything new right now.

v) Convince your senior colleague. Tell him/her how valuable it would be if they get on-board.

What if your boss overloads you with office tasks and personal works too outside the office?

How can you handle it?

To a certain extent, you can lend your help. Don't accept anything and everything to please your boss. It can put you in difficult situations like work overload even outside the office too. It's okay to say NO. Learn to say No.

What if you are faced with a difficult situation of bad physical advances from anyone, even if it's your boss at work?

You should handle it by:

a) Immediately raise the issue with HR. Don’t ignore it.

b) Privately explain to the person. Say clearly about how you are not interested.

c) Sometimes a warning is not enough. Make sure that the person understands that you will take a severe course of action.

d) Don't be afraid it's the boss. Take it to HR. If the response is not appropriate from them, you explain to the HR how their inadequate actions will make you take further hard steps.

What if someone takes the credit for your work? What if your boss takes credit for your work?

How to handle this situation?

i) There's nothing much you can do when it is your boss who keeps taking credits for the work instead of a deserving person. A good boss will let others grow and will give the deserved credit.

ii) When it comes to presentations, business, or client meetings, you will be more equipped in handling questions and follow-ups. It will show people how high-handed and knowledgeable you are in this idea.

iii) You can get little-aggressive and address the concern when it becomes a habit of people taking credits for your work. Do it privately.

iv) Explain to people in a subtle way.

v) As long as it doesn't affect your growth, think about 'does it matter to raise it as a big issue.' Let it go.

vi) People won't be able to get along with taking false-credits for long. Eventually, they'll get stuck somewhere. Especially with an original idea, they cant.

What if your colleague/superior is doing something wrong, and you have to take it up?

How do you handle it?

If it's a colleague, always take the issue to the immediate boss or direct-supervisor and not to anyone else. Say it as a concern and not as trouble or rant. If it's your supervisor, then take it up with his/her immediate boss.

Faced with the difficult situation of giving feedbacks about colleagues or team-head, how to handle it?

If it's about the colleague:

First, give them time to steady. Let them be ready to take the 'feedback-session' about them; thereby, you slowly begin explaining the concern.

i) Preferably, address the issue in private.

ii) Tell him/her that you also have gone through this feedback phase and have grown from it.

iii) Say it as a concern that the team members are feeling bad about your behavior, and you try to change.

If it's feedback about your superiors, take it with his/her immediate boss. It's better.

How to handle difference-of-opinion in the workplace?

It's like breathing the air. Conflict of ideas and differences of opinions gets in your way even when you don't see it.

i) Diplomacy is a better option than having arguments or rejecting the ideas or saying that it is no worthy.

ii) Clear communications is a problem solver.

iii) You can say that you are clear in your preference in a toned-down way.

iv) Besides your final opinion, be willing to get in to further discussions, if any.

How to handle ongoing resolve with your co-worker?

You can seek the help of a mutual-friend. With him/her help, you both can settle the issue that's been going on for some time.

How to handle a situation that involves religion, race, and gender-issues at the workplace?

Just one fun statement could end up getting you fired. Don't be a part of it. Steer yourself away from situations that involve insensitive arguments about race and religion. If people ask opinions in that matter, evade or say not-interested.

Our Final Thoughts

When you are about to start your career irrespective of workplace or business, situations will vary from time to time. Complicated things to solve and difficult situations to handle at your workplace will all become a part of your day. Prepare yourself. With the ideas and tips we shared, it's going to give you a good head start with handling difficult situations in the workplace well.

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