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Defusing the 5 Trickiest Workplace Situations

Defusing the 5 Trickiest Workplace Situations

Jeff Hindenach | GovCentral

May 26, 2010

You’re in Trouble for Messing Up

When you make a mistake at work, you may feel incompetent or not worthy of the position. But try to remember that everyone makes mistakes, especially on the job. Trying to cover up those errors only makes things worse. When you make a mistake, own up to it right away. Apologize to your boss and calmly explain what happened and how you will learn from it. Not only does it show maturity, it makes you look responsible, honest, and open to learning new things.

Bordering on Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is never ok in the workplace, but what about those situations when you aren’t sure yourself if a situation is really harassment or not? The best thing to do is to talk calmly with the person who’s bothering you and ask them to stop the behavior that is making you uncomfortable. If it continues, talk to your supervisor. If they do nothing, or if the harasser is your supervisor, it’s time to go to HR. It may be an uncomfortable situation, but it’s better than being harassed day in and day out.

Someone Is Trash Talking About You to Everyone

With the incredible stress levels in some workplaces, emotions can easily run high. Words fly and sometimes we say things we don’t mean. But a tense situation doesn’t need to escalate into an all-out war. When you feel insulted, don’t get upset! Calmly approach the person who is trash talking you and ask them politely to talk through the problem. If they refuse, explain that trash talking is a form of workplace harassment, and if you can’t work it out, you’ll have to approach HR about the situation. Be as diplomatic as possible — there’s no need to upset your coworker even more.

The office can be a difficult environment to navigate, but as long as you keep calm and stay diplomatic, you should be able to defuse any uncomfortable situation.


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  • T128_1__max50

    gregv62

    over 3 years ago

    2 comments

    I agree diplomatic is always the way to go dont let your emotions get away with u think with clear head..

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    tiredreamer

    almost 4 years ago

    2 comments

    I say we just deal the best way we can, in life, anything can happen.

  • Fox_in_snow_max50

    Naturen

    about 4 years ago

    16 comments

    What if your supervisor trashes one within earshot of other employees walking by or in nearby cubicled offices?

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    edkarl

    about 4 years ago

    4 comments

    Hah. funny. TRose is right. Anyway - this article is helpful when you consider how many terrible instances of work-place violence we see in the news. I hope everyone is taking notes - "Diplomatic" is the key word. Why escalate something when it really helps no one. I don't mean being passive or not defending one-self, in an honorable way. It seems a lot of people assume "defending oneself" means trying to emulate (take your pick - Dirty Harry, Rambo, etc.) Instead, if people were to think a little harder for the better way, they would at least realize that either 1. they are right and don't need to stress out - just explain, or 2. they are wrong and should improve what they are doing or how they go about doing it.

    Thanks for the article.

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    TRose

    about 4 years ago

    2 comments

    Implying that someone might have a female boss is a perfectly reasonable thing to do in an article like this. Especially when you're writing for a general audience and covering a topic that can occur in many different workplaces. It's true, sometimes men have female bosses whether you like it or not.
    If you're going to complain about someone being "uber-sensitive," you might want to take steps to make sure you aren't being that way yourself. If one pronoun can set you off, you probably need to chill out.

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    Disco58

    about 4 years ago

    24 comments

    I thought it was interesting that this article was written by a guy, but in the second situation 'Assigned a task you don't know how to do' he refers to the boss as 'she' Jeff, are you really that PC or just a victim of the feminizing of society? You need to get a bigger pair, or get yours back from whatever woman cut them off. As far as sexual harassment goes, if it's so vague you can't figure it out on your own, shut the hell up. I've seen people fired for very innocuous comments, when the uber-sensitive "victim" ran screaming to the boss or HR. One situation was that the comment was nothing more than he liked her perfume, and he was history.

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    tekctrl

    about 4 years ago

    24 comments

    You left out "Someone taking credit for your accomplishments"! I had a FT employee taking credit for my (contractor) accomplishments. When I complained to our mutual manager, he fired Me. Don't think that it doesn't happen, or would never happen to you. It does, and it can.

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