Any time a group of people spends 40 hours a week or more together there is bound to be some chaos, some drama, some issues. It is inevitable.
We are all different: Our moods, beliefs, manners, empathy, and modes of communication mix with deadlines, stress, success and failure that generate a unique environment.
Occasionally, we may even stumble upon one of many workplace dilemmas or ethical situations that test our decision-making abilities.
Here are a few potential workplace dilemmas that could happen to you.
Four Common Workplace Dilemmas
Your Current Job Is Not What You Applied For
Your organization hired you to stock produce, but now you are the assistant manager in the fresh flower department. This may be a result of your flexibility, your never-say-no approach to work, or simply organizational disorganization. Whatever the reason, you are not doing the job you interviewed for.
If you’re unhappy, the first thing to do is speak with your boss or a manager. It would be good for them to hear your concerns, and give them the opportunity to determine how and why this situation occurred.
It is smart to have this conversation before frustration sets in so you can remain in control and keep your emotions at bay. Once you determine whether or not this was a purposeful “accident” you can decide whether to stay or leave.
The Troublesome Co-worker
No matter what you do, there is a definite clash of personalities with one of your co-workers (hopefully they are not to the point of workplace bullying, which is a completely different situation). A troublesome co-worker would be less a concern if you saw them once a month, but you see and work with them all week long.
If this occurs, remove your ego from the equation. There is no law stating you must like all your co-workers in order to do good work. Think about other sources of pride, such as your family and friends, when tempted to lock horns with this person.
Sometimes trying to find things you admire about your co-worker can help relieve your negative emotions. Other times, “fake it till you make it” has been known to work. Perhaps a concerted effort of pleasantness for two weeks can turn things around.
If all fails, simply realizing that the difficult behavior is about them, not you, can make that person easier to deal with.
Taking All the Credit
When employees work in teams there is usually a disparate contribution level from each member. If the project is a success, does everyone receive the same credit? If the project is a failure, does everyone receive equal blame? This is always a tricky issue.
The best way to make certain this does not happen to your team is to avoid it altogether. Team members must ensure everyone is given a specific task, which must be finished on time to complete the project.
Mixing Personal and Company Time
It is difficult to get everything done when you work 40 plus hours a week. Frequently, co-workers may attempt to take care of personal business on the company dime. This seems like a cut-and-dry dilemma: It is unethical.
However, it is not as clear cut as you may think. Is it an abuse to take a call from your doctor? A good way to determine if you think you are short-changing your company is to ask human resources about it. If you are too embarrassed to ask, then it may be likely you are taking advantage of the situation and your employer.
If someone else is making poor use of company time, you have a true workplace dilemma. Do you alert managers to these organization-damaging behaviors and risk ostracization by your co-workers, or do you keep your head down and remain silent? Only you can answer this question, and it is the most difficult of the four dilemmas to resolve.
Look for Good Company Cultures
The best way to avoid these workplace dilemmas is to work for a company that would never allow this nonsense to begin with. There are companies where employees hold one another accountable so these situations never reach dilemma proportions.
If you don’t have the luxury of choosing a company with a great culture, avoid the temptation of falling in with the ranks. Your ability to avoid or address workplace dilemmas are what make you a unique, valued employee.