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Defusing the 5 Trickiest Workplace Situations

Defusing the 5 Trickiest Workplace Situations

Jeff Hindenach | Excelle

The workplace can be a political minefield. While you may all work as a team, you’re all most concerned with your own job,right? How your bosses see you can determine a raise, a promotion — or even if you keep your job. Navigating office politics is not an easy task, but avoiding potentially negative situations should be your first priority.

If you find yourself trapped in one of these situations, you need to know how to best defuse it with minimal damage to your professional reputation. Here are some tips on how to get out of five of the most common workplace minefields.

In the Middle of an Office Argument

Whether a coworker is ranting at you about his boss or you get caught right in the middle of a shouting match, the best thing to do is keep your mouth shut. Taking sides in a situation like this can only lead to trouble. If a coworker is just venting to you, be empathetic but don’t agree with them. You never know who is going to be promoted, and you don’t want to be on the bad side of your new boss. Similarly, if an argument is raging around you, resist the temptation to join. In office inter-personal battles, nobody wins.

Assigned a Project You Don’t Know How to Do

You never want to tell your boss that you can’t perform a task, but if she assigns you something outside of your working knowledge, what are your options? Depending on how tight the deadline is, you probably have time to do some research. Pull from as many sources as possible so you at least have an idea of how to the task correctly. If you can’t find any experts on the subject, suck it up and resort to asking a coworker for help. Just make sure they are reliable and won’t rat you out. You have the resources to complete any task inside you, you just need to not panic and keep a calm head.

Next Page: You’re in Trouble for Messing Up

  • Greceaaaa2_max50


    over 2 years ago


    Nice meeting you here, how are you today i will want us to be friends contact me here with my e-mail address ( ) because i have a special reason why have contacted you so that i can send you my photos and also tell you more about myself here is my e-mail address( ) you can also drop me your email mail address i am waiting to get a reply from you remember that co-lour, language or age and distance does not matter but understand matters
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  • Etsy_thumb_max50


    almost 4 years ago


    I've been to HR about a troublesome supervisor before (it was 2-3 of us who were having a variety of issues with her), and either HR reported it to that supervisor, or talked to her supervisor who then spilled the beans to her. Either way, it made for some serious unpleasantness.

    Before going to HR with a problem, ask what the company policy is regarding reporting.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    The advice about owning up to your mistakes is good if you have a supervisor that doesn't see that as an opportunity to "keep score" and never lets you forget even the simplest mistakes. It's a recipe for disaster when you have a 'scorekeeper' who is just looking for a reason to get rid of you. Unfortunately, this was my past experience - I owned up to my mistakes, requested assistance and / or training, and was offered neither. When my job ended, they cited 'performance deficiencies' as their reason for termination.

    Definitely be honest, but realize that not every supervisor will appreciate the honesty and you should always keep your options as open as possible for another job...

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