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  • Boris Joaquin

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 learn something, and often, the more difficult the problem, the harder the lesson to be learned. The ability to learn will also often involve a lot of humbling to make us teachable and appreciate the lesson we can take away from the situation. Always look for the educational value in a difficulty so that you can handle similar situations in the future better.


Don’t ask “Why me?” You are not alone in facing difficulties; everyone has one sooner or later. Such is life. You just have to go through it and overcome the challenges and trials life throws your way. Acceptance is important. Know that if God allows you to go through a certain difficulty, He will give you the strength you need to overcome. Just ask. God will help you can cope with the difficulty.


Let go and let God. When you have done everything you could, place everything in God’s hands. Have confidence that He will guide you towards a solution if you seek Him earnestly. Remember, God is bigger than any of our problems, and He is bigger than anything that happens to you.


Boris Joaquin is a corporate trainer, executive coach and consultant. He is an Investors in People (UK) specialist, one of the founders of Breakthrough Leadership Management Consultancy which carries Salt and Light Ventures and founder of Project Purpose Philippines. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter @borisjoaquin

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