Toolkit for dealing with challenging situations in the workplace.

Note: with practice tools 1 to 4 can be used whilst the situation is developing, tool 5 is for after the event.


Professional distance

Understanding that it is the situation that is causing the conflict and it is not directed at you personally.

Recognising that you may not be able to meet all of your customers’ expectations especially when you don’t know what they are.

Remove yourself from a potentially compromising situation and ask a colleague to step in.

Putting on your uniform at work and removing before leaving the premises helps to create a “work mindset”


Focus on your personal priorities

Why are you doing this job? Is it to pay the bills? To pay for luxuries or simply to survive?

Do you enjoy your work?

Keep a photograph in view of someone or something important

Reminders of your priorities – a page from a holiday brochure, picture of a new car etc.


Past Experiences

Learn from past experiences whether positive or negative

What would you do differently next time?

How could you change the outcome for the better?

Recognise it’s not a battle

Mirror good practice

Recognise how you felt


 Self Awareness

Know your strengths and weaknesses

Your own values and beliefs may influence your behaviour

Be self aware body language, tone of voice, terminology, active listening skills.

How do others see you? Is that because they are friends or colleagues

Phrasing of questions, politeness and courtesy.

How do you like to be treated when you are a customer?


De Brief

Recognise a safe zone which is an environment where you can let off steam in a confidential situation

Share with others and learn from each other’s experiences

Reflection on how you felt and what you would change next time

Trying to leave work problems at work

Managing stress, what tactics work for you?


……. and finally

It is said “you can’t please all of the people all of the time”, this is very true so unfortunately some workplace conflict is almost inevitable.

However if on reflection you appear to be experiencing more than your fair share of workplace conflicts perhaps not all the fault lies with the other party. You may need to consider having an honest look at tool 4 again!!