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5 tips for handling difficult situations in the workplace

How do you handle difficult situations in the workplace? I was once asked that question by someone who was clearly facing problems at work, and though I addressed his specific situation with specific advice, all of us should expect to go through challenges in our respective workplaces – whether in the form of a demanding boss or client, a project that is new to you, or a workmate who is a challenge to work with. In facing such problems, complications, or hindrances at work, perspective is key.

Here are some ideas that have worked for me when I went through challenges myself at the workplace:

Don’t panic. Let there be no panic, for any difficulty can never be handled emotionally. If you are overcome by emotion and you can afford not to face it head on at the moment – because there are other more important concerns to face – then suspend your reaction. Shelve it first. Tell yourself, “I am not doing that now.” Keep your cool and get back to it later when you have gathered your thoughts and have found some calm.

Organize. Does the problem seem overwhelming? Then take it apart and study its component elements. Think. Apply sound, reasonable thinking so that fresh insights could visit you. Then, maybe, you can find solutions to the problems you face. This is the value of taking your time a bit: you get to think it through when you have reined your emotions in. This can also help build your patience, since problems are often not solved overnight.

Learn. Every difficulty is an opportunity to