From the moment we land our first job until we retire, we grapple with a whole range of work issues. These vary widely from trivial to serious. And yet, we never feel adequately prepared. There’s no college course to help you deal with problem co-workers or unproductive meetings. It’s something you pick up along the way. Until then, here’s a list of some common problems and how to tackle them.
If your work problem is of a serious nature, you should always seek advice. Some issues may require a lawyer to intervene on your behalf. For example, sexual harassment, which is prohibited under Federal employment law. Or, breaches of contract, etc. For any legal issues, always seek legal counsel and obtain the assistance you need.
If You Make A Mistake
Mistakes happen. They are a fact of life and a sign that you are human. Most people realize this and accept it as a fact. What’s really important is how you handle it. If you attempt an elaborate cover up, you’re likely to make it worse. Instead, fess up, own it and take steps to rectify it. Graciously owning up to your mistake and taking remedial action will demonstrate your integrity.
Every workplace has a difficult co-worker. This varies from the mildly irritating co-worker to the work bully. How you handle them will depend on the person and situation. However, there are some universal steps you can take.
If there’s an irritating person at your place of work, chances are other people have picked up on it. Avoid any temptation to moan about that person and indulge in gossip. This won’t deal with the problem, and it is likely to create an unpleasant atmosphere. Depending on the issue you have a few options:
- Confront the person and explain the problem
- Limit your contact with them
- Make it about an issue rather than the person, and take steps to resolve that
If a co-worker is making it difficult for you to do your job, approach them gently. Rather than being confrontational, explain your difficulty and suggest a different approach. Bullying at work is a different matter entirely and needs a careful approach.
You pride yourself on working hard and going the extra mile. However, this is never enough for your demanding boss. They always expect more. When this oversteps your boundaries, it’s time to take action. One of the common issues reported by employees is the expectation for them to work long hours. While some overtime may be expected, there is a limit. Always check your contract first and be absolutely clear about requirements. If you feel that you are being asked to do too much, you should raise this with your boss. Try to figure out the reason for the problem first. Do you need additional training to fulfill your duties quicker? Or is it a case of too few staff to take on the amount of work?
Simple strategies for approaching the problem:
- Be polite but firm
- Explain what you’re comfortable with and establish boundaries
- Be specific when determining what you’re prepared to do
- Be consistent and stick to what is agreed
As you become more experienced, you will be better equipped to deal with issues as they arise. In the meantime, it’s useful to have a few strategies up your sleeve for dealing with those frustrating problems.
This is a contributed post.