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Manager Skills:
10 Stressful Office Situations and How to Deal with Them

See also: Team-working

Staying focused on work is not an easy task in an office environment.

Dealing with employees' private and business matters is probably the most challenging task for every manager. Although nobody can predict all the potential stress-inducing situations in an office, there are some common features.

This is why we have come up with some frequent office problems and their potential solutions.


1) Your Best Worker is Often Absent from Work

The line between remarkable intelligence and foolishness is pretty thin.

If you have an ingenious worker whose results are outstanding, but who is often late for work or does not even show up, you need to be wise and think in advance.

What is more important to you and your fellow managers, disciplining the playmaker and reducing their potential or giving them full freedom and letting them lead their game the way they want it?

The Harvard Business Review brings an interesting piece about leading smart people, so this might help you make your decision.

2) Opposing political views in an office

If a manager hears that their employees are discussing politics during the work hours, the reaction needs to be quick and immediate.

There is hardly a more delicate matter than expressing political and religious opinions in the modern corporative world.

What every manager should do in such a situation is invite the opposing parties and warn them that the office is not a place where they should have political debates. Also, if they keep breaking the rules, their payments should be reduced.

See our page on Political Awareness for more.

3) Employees Having an Affair

Although love affairs are not against the law in general, every company usually has its own set of rules for that particular topic.

The rule of thumb is that affairs between colleagues should be kept out of the work place and space. The wisest solution is to invite the perpetrators for a private conversation and explain to them that their private matters should remain exactly that – their personal thing that they should not express at work.

In an article published by the Guardian, there might be some useful tips for managers in solving their future challenges, office love-wise.


4) Contagious Office Gossiping

Talking behind your colleagues' back is much worse than overtly insulting them.

Although both types of behavior are not welcome in offices, the latter is at least direct and honest. The former, on the other hand, represents the utmost form of verbal abuse.

If such a habit spreads inside your office, you should hold meetings with teams, as well as individual meetings with your employees, to tell them loud and clear that they could even be fired if they continue with such rude office practice.

5) Furious Office Fight!

Office fights are a common thing when employees are under stress, pressed by their tasks and deadlines.

What every manager needs to learn is how to tell a competitive, productive office conflict from a personal, destructive fight. If you see that your workers have some interesting suggestions about your projects and have an argument over that matter, let them express their ideas and help them reach a compromise.

See our pages: Mediation Skills and Conflict Resolution for more information.

6) Dealing with Informants

The practice of having your own informant among your employees should be completely abandoned.

Sooner or later, other employees will realize who the informant is and it will create unfriendly relationships in the office. Managers should prevent their employees from telling them office secrets. That way you will stay neutral in every situation, which will earn you respect from all your employees.

7) Comedian Employees Causing Havoc

Although psychologists and HR experts recommend laughing at work, managers know that sometimes too much humor simply distracts employees from getting their work done.

If you have a real crack-up employee, who cannot stop joking even when it is clear that it is counterproductive, you need to have a small chat with that person.

Try to make them realize that they can have fun when the work is done. If the colleagues around them encourage them to behave like jesters, transfer the comedian(s) to other, less relaxed teams, where they will not have so much freedom.

8) Drunk Workers at An Office Party

Office parties are great occasions for employees to mingle and get to know one another in a better way.

However, some employees might get carried away in such a relaxed situation and end up getting completely wasted. If you see that some of the drunk employees could become rude or insult other people, ask them politely to leave the party. Also, it would be wise to take a proactive approach and have a meeting with your workers before the party, to inform them that they are expected to behave like responsible adults.

Moreover, you could use these Wall Street Journal rules to make a list of rules for office parties and post them to the office notice board.

9) Workers are Burning Out

People sometimes bite off more than they can chew without even noticing it.

This is why a smart and caring manager is there to spot such moments. If your office crew is about to finish an important project, but you notice that they are burning out, you need to react at once.

First of all, outsource some work if possible to relieve stress from your employees. Secondly, explain the situation to your clients and try to extend the deadline. Finally, in addition to the first two steps, promise your employees some free time upon the completion of the project and some extra payment. It should inspire them to go that extra mile and cope with stress in a successful way.

See our page Burnout for tips on how to avoid and manage burnout.

10) Your Employees' Personal Losses

The most difficult situation for every manager is going through emotional losses with their employees.

If one of your workers has lost a dear person, you need to show them care and sympathy. Funeral homes advise that managers offer their help in every sense, from emotional to personal and business support. Also, while it is recommended to give an employee in such a situation a few days off, they should not be treated differently afterwards.

Work can help them distract their thoughts from the loss and overcome the hard period in an easier way. It is necessary to talk to them, to find out whether they are ready to start working again or they need more time for themselves.

Learn more about Sympathy and Empathy.


The ability to deal with office problems should be treated as a special scientific discipline. This is why good managers are so rare. It takes practice and experience to master managerial skills.

Every manager has to do their best to learn about helping their employees overcome their problems and losses. Such an approach will make their offices more successful and comfortable places.

About the Author


Derek Lotts is a blogger who seeks recognition by writing in-depth articles on the topics he considers interesting and worthy of attention. If one thing is true about him, it's his curious mind. You can follow him on Twitter

References and Resources:

http://www.workhappynow.com/2010/03/16-difficult-office-situations
http://www.mensfitness.com/life/3-common-stressful-work-situations%E2%80%94…
http://www.embracethechaos.com/2013/11/3-tips-on-how-to-deal-with-difficult…
http://smallbusiness.chron.com/examples-manager-would-handle-stressful-situ…
http://www.business.com/company-culture/which-of-these-9-types-of-colleague…
http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/201950
http://affinityfunerals.com.au/6/Grief_in_the_Workplace.html
http://www.quintcareers.com/managing-job-stress/
http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/207680
http://www.forbes.com/forbes/welcome/#c09d5af15a06

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