In trying to figure out why reality shows are so popular, I’ve come to the conclusion that they offer us a way to deal with our fears.
I’m not talking about eating bugs, or being confined in a plastic box with snakes and then eating bugs. I’m talking about even scarier things.
We don’t like judgment and public humiliation, so that’s why we watch shows like “American Idol.” We don’t like confrontation so that’s why we watch… well, you name it.
Our reluctance to deal with difficult situations can come back to bite us in many ways, particularly at work. Do yourself a favor and, the next time the storm clouds come out when you’re on the job, avoid making these mistakes:
Making it personal. Tense situations will arise between co-workers. It’s inevitable. When they crop up, it’s not necessarily because anyone involved is a jerk. Try to stay focused on finding practical solutions to tangible problems and leave people’s personalities out of it.
Ignoring it. You might say to yourself, or even your co-worker after you’ve dished about a problem for the fifth time, that “It’s no big deal,” but you’re barely even fooling yourself. You wouldn’t be dwelling on the matter so much if it didn’t get to you, so sit yourself down and figure out what you can do about it.
Bottling & blowing. Instead of addressing a problem the first time it came up, or even the third or fourth time, you keep swallowing your anger and irritation. Then, after the 10th time somebody left a mess in the workroom for you to clean up, or whatever the issue is, you have a fit. Unfortunately, when you do that you lose your power and your moral authority. Address infractions early, before they can get under your skin.
Talking when you’re upset. The flip side of this is rushing in to talk to a colleague when you’re still emotionally affected by what happened. Whether you’re a woman trying not to cry or a man trying not to lose your temper, no one likes feeling emotionally exposed at the workplace. Fortunately, there’s something else you can do. Get yourself out of the situation, figure out what you need to say and what you’d like to see. Sometimes it helps to write these things down as bullet points. Schedule a time to meet with those involved and use your list. Then, pat yourself on the back because you’ve just done something not many of us do – discuss difficult issues without having a TV crew on hand.
by Danielle Dresden