Addressing Difficult situations at Work

"It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that things are difficult." Seneca

I believe one of the reasons why we hate conflict is the unpredictability that it can be riddle with. Conflict should be boiled down to what it is, it is about difference, which is to be expected because no matter how many things we might have in common with a person, we are our own individual with our unique way of seeing the world and operating within it.

Dealing with difficult situations in life, has to do with trusting yourself to stay focused and be self controlled, without knowing how the other party will response.

Dealing with conflict is not about confrontation, it is about realizing, calmly, that someone has a different perspective on a situation. Unlike dealing with difficult situations in life, where you can choose to walk away, if the situation proves uninhabitable, this option is not available, when dealing with difficult situations at work.

Resolving Conflict is a great way to build your communication skills and to build better relationships. Conflict is an inevitably that can resolved with the following best practices in mind:

  • Be optimistic and friendly: enter the conversation looking to get a better understanding of how to work better with your associate

  • Listen, Listen and Listen: Try paraphrasing with "I think what I hear you saying is .........., is that right?"

  • Know that there are two parties involved and take responsibility for your part: You know your true motivation in engaging in the discussion. You know your tendencies: you know if you are too easy to give in or manipulative. Also know that You are not able or responsible for the other person's behaviours but don't try to change them either.

  • Tackle one issue at a time: don't move on to another issue until both parts have made all necessary efforts. Do not drag past situations into the present. If those need to be discussed, make time to do so. Resolving issues takes time and should be given time.

  • Do not Gossip: Gossip destroys corporate culture. Most people gossip because they want to be heard and agreed with but it is important to remember that not only do you begin to chip away at the other person's character, by gossiping, you begin to establish yourself as untrustworthy. The less audience you have the better. Meet in person, meet in a safe and private location.

  • Conflicts should not be about ego: resolving issues are only possible without egos or titles. Just because you are the CEO doesn't mean you are right, or wrong. Just because you are the Administrative Personnel does not mean that you will be looked down upon. Ego protects self and a conversation without it creates opportunities for complete resolutions

  • Seek to understand: Genuinely ask questions to learn how the person arrived at their perspective. Ask questions to clarify not to be rhetorical

  • Apologize whenever you are in the wrong, it is an admirable strength to possess. Don't wait for the other person to apologize first, even if you are always the one to apologize first. If you need more time to reflect on the situation before a resolution can be reached, say so, gently.

  • Come up with solutions that are mutual and can be measured


Remember "It's not hard to find the truth. What is hard is not to run away from it once you have found it."


I am an entrepreneur with over six years of Promotions and Communications experience. For more information, please visit:

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