Do you think you’ve got a tough job? How do you face difficult people or tough situations at your workplace?
Most work places are pressure cookers where stress and conflict are commonly endured. How many of us find ourselves burned out several months after the honeymoon phase at a new job is over? Job burnout is a common consequence of a tough work environment, and it’s something we certainly want to avoid. But what happens if you’re particularly sensitive to the politics that take place around you at work? Unfortunately, it’s something that’s a fact of work life for many employees; office politics is something that many of us have to learn how to deal with in order to ensure our longevity and success at the office (wherever that may be).
So how many of us have some work war stories to share? In my case, one of my colleagues at school is a young teacher, barely 23 years old. She’s a highly sensitive girl, so whenever she receives any form of criticism, no matter how constructive it is, she can’t help but run off to cry in the restroom. This is just one of many examples of people who simply haven’t learned how to handle difficult situations in the working place.
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How Do You React To Work Stress and Workplace Conflict?
While co-workers are sometimes supportive, on many occasions they may secretly enjoy seeing you in trouble with the boss, possibly sharing the erroneous belief that your sorry plight will benefit them in some way. Then there are those other employees, who can’t help but spend their time at work looking over their shoulders, constantly feeling paranoid, wondering how well they’re doing and how much they’re pleasing their bosses.
The fact is, our reactions to confrontations vary, depending on each person’s temperament and each individual’s personal agenda and position. In the movie “The Devil Wears Prada”, the boss is simply immune to criticism, a fault that will eventually cause the company to lose money since nobody dares to oppose her decisions. How then should we handle difficult situations in the work space?
6 Ways To Deal With A Difficult Job Environment
1. Work on your self-esteem. A worker who has a good understanding of their value to the company will be able to handle confrontations without falling into despair and without losing faith in themselves.
2. Dialogue. Ask your boss for a chance to talk privately whenever he or she chides you publicly for making a mistake. Communicating your concerns to your supervisor and offering to improve your track record while reminding them that a private conversation is something you’d appreciate, could be effective. Try to aim for a give and take at work with your boss and colleagues: a positive approach will have a better chance at diffusing any conflicts that are brewing. When you’re given a chance, try to put yourself in a positive light, say by giving concrete evidence of your efforts (e.g. if you’ve gone on training classes or finished projects ahead of schedule, remind your superiors about this).
3. Reach a decision. If the boss seems to be an unrepentant dictator who apparently will never change, make up your mind whether you are willing to take his/her tyranny much longer. After all, you’ve got free will and choices to make. It may be time to leave your job if you believe you won’t be seeing any changes to your current environment.
4. Move on emotionally. Do not let negative emotions ruin your mental stability. Pain, sadness, anger, humiliation and frustration are normal, to a point. Do not dwell on the past unless you want to become permanently stressed. Don’t let anything or anyone cause you any more stress — it’s unhealthy! Roll with the punches and go on enjoying life.
5. Remain calm during confrontations. Take deep breaths to avoid becoming emotional. Martial arts teaches us to keep our cool in a fight; don’t be the one to get upset. If your nemesis sees that they are not getting to you emotionally, they will eventually quit and maybe even apologize.
6. Surround yourself with good energy. Seek the company of those who like and appreciate you whether at work or in your personal life. You might want to talk to a former teacher you hold in high esteem; or to a minister at your church. Forget “shrinks”. They cost a fortune and are not likely to help you solve anything; you can get much better advice from persons you admire and respect.
As we learn to handle difficult situations, we also grow in experience and wisdom, which are qualities that will weigh heavily in life’s experiences. We become more mature when we examine ourselves — a technique called “introspection” — during which we actually sustain an internal dialogue. Let us practice this ability in order to grow more mature and more successful in our interpersonal relations.
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