Employee Management: Dealing With Awkward Situations At Office

by Srikant Chellappa Sep 4,2023

The People Strategy Leaders Podcast

with Srikant Chellappa, CEO

Have you ever been in a situation where you really wanted it to be over already because it was too embarrassing? Well, welcome to the club! We all have been there at least once.

Every employee faces a little work-related awkwardness at least once, no matter how much they love their job. But sometimes, these situations can cause more damage to them than just a moment of embarrassment.

Here is a list of a few such instances and how to deal with awkward situations.

The Meeting-Monopolizer

There’s always that one person in every meeting who chatters all the way through the meeting, no matter what the actual subject is.

Sometimes, it is more than one person who monopolizes the discussion and, in the end, accomplishes nothing. This is quite awkward for everyone else who is a part of the meeting. Some might actually have some useful information to share but don’t get an opportunity to share.

Our Tip: Do not interrupt them, because interrupting these monopolizers can cause the meeting to go off the rails and turn into an argument. Instead, respond to them with neutral expressions regain control over the meeting, and ask everyone in the meeting to put their point across.

Also Read: 5 Tips For Effective Meetings

Someone Steals Your Credit

If you don’t take credit for what you do, it is likely that someone else will. – Fawn Germer, Pulitzer prize-winning journalist.

This is one of the most common and most awkward situations one can face at their workplace. It can be really frustrating to watch your colleague being praised for the work you did.

Our Fix: Before you jump to conclusions and get into an argument with your colleague that they are stealing your credit, try talking about the issue peacefully to your colleague.

If this doesn’t change anything, try changing your behavior at the meeting and present your ideas yourself instead of letting your colleague represent you each time.

Refusing A Date

Another common awkward situation to be in is being out by your colleagues, particularly when you have to refuse them for it. Because it is not going to end with just a ‘No’; you still have to continue working with them without being awkward around each other.

Our Fix: First, thank them for their offer. This allows you to have a real conversation with them instead of just saying a blunt ‘No’ and making them feel rejected. Most organizations have policies that prevent co-workers from dating each other. Tell them that you value your career more and that you do not want to go against the company policies. Let them know that you aren’t refusing them because they don’t match your standards. It is because of the boundaries you set for yourselves.

Terminated Employees Refuse To Leave

Firing an employee is an awkward situation, no matter how prepared you are to do it. This situation becomes more awkward if the employee refuses to leave the workplace.

Many organizations face this problem and aren’t sure how to handle this situation. You can ask your security personnel to escort the person out of the office, but it is quite disturbing for the rest of the staff to watch their former colleague pack their stuff before them and be escorted out of the workplace.

When you are terminating an employee and suspect that the situation might turn violent, make sure that you have a security person at a distance close enough to help if needed. Minimize the reasons for the terminated employee to revisit the workplace; send their uncollected belongings send to their home via mail or a delivery service.

There’s no specific way to handle this situation, but you can certainly follow a few steps to prevent this awkwardness. Never surprise your employee with termination. If your employee is failing at their job, talk to them about it and tell them that this might affect their career.

Also Read: The Do’s And Don’ts Of Giving Negative Performance Reviews

Do not wait till the annual performance review and surprise your employees with a termination letter. Document their poor performance and keep them informed about it. This will keep them warned that if their performance isn’t good enough, their job would be at risk, minimizing the element of shock and anger.

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Srikant Chellappa
CEO & Co-Founder of Engagedly

Srikant Chellappa is the Co-Founder and CEO at Engagedly and is a passionate entrepreneur and people leader. He is an author, producer/director of 6 feature films, a music album with his band Manchester Underground, and is the host of The People Strategy Leaders Podcast. He is currently working on his next book, Ikigai at the Workplace, which is slated for release in the fall of 2024.

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