Every professional dreams of walking into a workplace where everything is exactly as it should be. It would be great if we could all work in a company where nothing ever went wrong, no surprises ever occurred, and everyone always worked together in harmony.
Unfortunately the reality is that life often does not pan out that way. Trials and difficulties are an intrinsic part of your experiences, and you can expect your mettle to be tested regardless of the industry that you happen to be in.
Whether you’re an employee or someone who’s in a leadership role, there will come a time when you’ll have to overcome certain challenges or react to sudden changes in your career. These can include resolving arguments between co-workers, scrambling to meet your deadlines and commitments, or adjusting to new responsibilities, to name a few. For all of these situations, you’ll have to rely on a healthy amount of trust and patience to pull through. Here’s how to deal with the worst of what your work life may throw your way:
Walk a Mile in Someone Else’s Shoes
A lot of the time, we make snap judgments before knowing all of the variables and facts. It’s all too easy to become ruled by our emotions and let our personal beliefs and biases fill in the blanks instead, especially during tense situations. When this happens, we fail to see the bigger picture and lose out on important information that could potentially open up other possibilities and outcomes.
There’s a time and place for following your instincts and going with your gut. However, there’s a difference between that and making hasty decisions. Most times, you wouldn’t benefit at all from doing the latter. It’s always better to practice empathy and see difficult situations through someone else’s eyes before passing any sort of judgment. When you take a moment to detach yourself from the event and look at things objectively, you may be able to gain a better understanding of what’s really going on.
Listen Actively and Positively
Active listening refers to the ability to focus completely and attentively on a speaker, comprehend their message, and then paraphrase and reflect what they said back to them. The trick is to do this without colouring it with one’s own judgment or imparting an opinion.
Done well, listening actively to others is one of the most effective ways to earn people’s trust and understand their situations. At work, active listening is important whether you’re in a leadership role or simply interacting with colleagues.
In addition to offering support and empathy to the speaker, active listening ties back to getting all the facts and all the variables before coming to any decision. Even if you are involved in a particular situation yourself, it’s always worth hearing what the other side has to say.
You can become a better, more active listener by making eye contact with the speaker, not interrupting them, and picking up their non-verbal cues. Additionally, make an effort to turn off your internal dialogue, which can prevent you from hearing someone as they’d like to be heard. It’s also a good idea to keep your body language open and non-threatening while actively listening. You’d be surprised at just how much power a simple smile can hold.
Be Transparent and Honest
Whatever your role might be in the company, you stand to gain a lot if you put yourself in a leadership mindset from the get-go. Whether you’ve been in the same job for years, or have been recently promoted, or have just gotten hired, you want to show your supervisors and colleagues that you are a leader who can act with integrity. This means being honest and transparent at all times.
Simply having the trust of the individuals around you can go a long way towards getting you through some of the toughest challenges that you might find yourself facing at work or in your career. It’s simple: when you’re honest and open, you demonstrate to people that you’re someone who can be trusted. And when people trust you, they’ll be more inclined to cooperate or collaborate with you.
Believe in Yourself and the Process
Whether you’re going through a difficult career transition or facing a seemingly insurmountable challenge at work, give it your all and let it run its course. At best, you’ll successfully prevail over your trial and will be able to put it behind you. At worst, you’ll still have learned something valuable. Either way, life goes on. Just do all that you can so that you won’t end up with any regrets even if things don’t go the way you had hoped that they would.
Everything you experience—including the highs and the lows—are all part of a bigger plan. The most important thing to remember when you find yourself overwhelmed and beaten down, is to continue listening to others, being kind, and believing in yourself. Have some faith! With this mindset, there’s nothing in the world that you won’t be able to handle.
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