Work situations can vary from professional to mouth-jarringly odd or unfair. You might experience challenging bosses, clients or co-workers. It is not always that people are difficult. Rather, we all get to be difficult every now and then. Maybe it is work pressure or not having a good work-life balance. Or perhaps it is the challenging nature of collaborative work.
In fact, expect to be eventually disappointed. People you respect will every now and then fail you. People that always deliver will someday under-deliver. After all, they’re only human. Yet, being put on the spot is nobody’s strong point. You’ll find it’s tough to be spontaneous with tricky work situations. Tricky work situations make a mess of your drive and motivation. They leave you under-performing or even looking for a different job.
Instead, you can prepare for tricky work situations when they happen and learn how to approach them. Now let’s explore the best way to do that.
How to deal with conflictual work situations
Collaborative work is often the right stage for conflicts. All sorts of matters converge in ways that can generate fights or arguments.
Work pressure, reaching set goals, and meeting deadlines can get the better of you. And before you know it, you landed right inside a conflict. Yet, nobody is truly right in an argument. By the time work conflicts ensue, it really does not matter who is right and who is wrong.
Whenever you find yourself in a conflict, you have two options:
- You can try to avoid, transform and even win it. Here is a small guide we prepared for you. Push further and learn conflict resolution with a qualified trainer. You can go ahead and study all there is about the art of work conflicts.
- You do need to be in tune with your emotions, but you can take a moment to understand the situation. And if you can’t take it, ask for that moment. Simply say “Wait a moment” or “I need a moment.” Use your moment to spot the way out. It could be by giving in, or giving up. It could be by understanding the other party. However, unless your brain can do a Sherlock montage, you won’t have the luxury to do all of these. So, start straight away with “I might be wrong and that’s OK.” It allows for whoever is wrong to move past it and reset themselves on the right track.
What matters, however, is navigating the troubled waters back to safety. Before that, however, make sure you do your share in relieving work pressure. Also, please note that everyone is trying to meet and beat deadlines, so be understanding.
Work situations imposing on your free time
Imagine being asked to continue work on a project over the weekend. Through no fault of yours, there are some sections that require improvements. Some of it you can do from home, so long as it is ready by Monday.
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Then again, you might be better off with going to work over the weekend. It simplifies matters for you. Yet, now you are working two extra days with no clear motivation. But if you refuse, you risk letting the team down. Or even demonstrating lack of interest in your work.
Similarly, you could have a client asking you to redo large sections of a project. It might feel unfair because they required those sections in that specific way. Having a change of heart, they expect you to cover for their lack of accountability. You could work again for free and maintain a client, or refuse out of principle and lose a client. It’s a tough call.
What’s important, however, is to realize that it is entirely up to you. You can explain to your manager that you have another commitment for the weekend. Or you can point to the email trail and show your client proof that you delivered precisely what they asked. Either way, your time means it’s your rules.
At the same time, you could somehow discover that you want to spend the weekend working on an exciting project. Or that you want to spend early mornings working on improving previous work you did for a client.
The bottom line here is: it is your time, so it’s your call. Just be graceful about. Say no in a way that reflects the circumstances appropriately.
Work situations where you can cut corners
It could be that you have to give a colleague or a friend some negative feedback. It is only natural that you would like to contribute to improving others. After all, feedback sharing is caring for most work situations.
Sometimes, however, you need to cut corners on being nice. And replace this with a more direct style. One in which you point straight ahead and specify what the matter is. And how you want it solved.
Or you might need to make a decision about what stays and what drops. Which ideas are good and which are not. Instead of offering feedback, however, you are in one of those work situations in which you need to make a call. And the call is a no-go. You have to shut down an operation. Or perhaps fire someone.
Either way, it’s your call and you need to do it the way you’d want it done. Simply speak it out, gracefully but firmly. Nobody is benefiting from not knowing they should stop. Ultimately, collaborative work means navigating beyond regular conventions. And one such way is to navigate with confidence.
Overall, tricky work situations must always be met with refined solutions. At face value, many of them are nothing more than coming into work with the wrong mindset. Instead, try and focus on what is important in all these work situations.