How To Deal With Difficult Situations At Work?

Moving from college or university to a work place is perhaps one of the biggest transformation in one’s life.


Irrespective of how intelligent or capable you are considered, the reality is a slap in the face.

Our education system trains us to deal with yearly storms in the form of final exams where we must do our best to keep the boat afloat. Hence, when you are likely to start complaining when the pressure of work-life fails to recede.

Here’s a scenario: You diligently worked well on a project, but a week before the deadline you find out that you misunderstood the brief, or the client has changed his mind, something along those lines. And hence, a week before the deadline, you find out that you have to work on the project from scratch.

Reaction: You panic. A part of you feels angry as well for all the wasted work. Your heart races and you are caught in an amygdala hijack.  You are in no position to deal with the situation calmly. The amygdala triggers a Flight, Fight, Freeze, or Faint response.

In this situation, emotional intelligence helps you to deal with the storm.

The first component is self-awareness. If you recognise this amygdala rush, you will know on a conscious level that you are panicking or angry. Daniel Goleman says that just acknowledging this starts the cooling process and helps us deal with it better.

The second component is self-management. Congratulations! Thanks to your emotional intelligence, you have acknowledged the amygdala rush and hence you recognise the feeling. It’s time to employ tools like relaxation or meditation. Something as simple as listening to a song or going for a short walk can work wonders. Distance yourself from the problem and take deep breaths to feel normal again.

The third component is social awareness. Can somebody help you with your work in terms of giving you advice? Why don’t you inform your SO about the situation beforehand so he/she will know what to expect from you? Ask a friendly senior or colleague how they deal with similar stressful situations.

The fourth component is relationship management. It is the art of using the awareness of your own emotions and those of others to manage interactions successfully. Is your boss or client panicking more than you? Assure them that you will deliver the work to their satisfaction. Do they seem to be angry? Calmly explain how it was not your fault, or give them some time to cool down. Put yourself into their shoes and deal with them accordingly.

Life can seem like a Jumanji game if you don’t know what to do in different situations at your first job. Guard yourself against all the unknown evils by taking our course, “The Ultimate First Job Guide”. You can view a free sample of the course here.

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