Tackling tricky situations at work

tackling tricky situations

“One must be aware of the organisational politics, though you will not be party to them.

Beware that you may be used as a pawn; play it delicately until you are sure of the organisation.” 

Several times, we encounter situations where there are more than one way of handling them. They bring with them several dilemmas, doubts, temptations, and sensitivities. Dealing with them in one way can lead certain gains, but may cause damage in the longer run. Therefore, they call for a more balanced and well-thought out response.

Let us discuss some tricky situations at work by taking examples.


Ramesh was in a frustrated mood. His application to an IT company got rejected and as per the company policy, he could not apply again for at least another six months. In such a mood, he received an advice ­ rather a smart one! The suggestion was to change the way he wrote his name and his father’s name, hoping that the online software that filters the applications would fail to catch it. In the first instance, the idea was appealing to Ramesh, though he wasn’t sure if it was the right thing! Though the sheer need of the job momentarily tempted Ramesh, he thought about the other likely consequences.

What would happen if the software caught him for manipulating willfully? What would happen if he was cornered during the personal interview? Would it not cause a permanent damage to his career? Moreover, he felt there must have been some reason for the company to have such policy of not re looking at the rejected candidates for at least six months. How would they look at Ramesh if he did not even respect a simple policy? What confidence will they have on his to offer a job? Weighing the long-term professional implications, Ramesh chose not to manipulate his name.


Ramesh could not muster courage to manipulate the names in the applications. He was still in need of a job and desperate to get one. He then received a call from a friend asking him whether Ramesh could organise Rs 50,000. The proposal was to pay an agent fifty thousand who will get Ramesh an entry-level job in a company. Also, it was stated that it is a very common practice and even HR people know it. While Rs 50,000 was surely a big amount, Ramesh was more tempted with the prospect of a job! Options like this may get a job, though not sure if the agent would not cheat and run away with money; the bigger question, however, is how one would grow the career after finding an entry thorough the back door!


Suman is a junior member of the HR department. Given his flair for numbers and comfort with operating software packages, his manager placed him in the confidential payroll cell.

Given the role, he was privy to all the personal and confidential information of almost all the people including the top management. His work place was also located a little away from the rest of the staff. However, Suman makes it a point to join his peers and people from other departments at the lunch table in the cafeteria. Using the informal rapport, some senior people from other departments tried enquiring Suman about others salaries. While they are more senior than Suman, given the role, Suman finds it delicate to share the info.In the first instance itself, Suman needs to assert and differentiate between personal rapport and professional integrity. If he compromises on professional integrity for want of personal relationships, he would not be trusted with any responsibilities.


Suman reports to the HR Manager, who in turn reports to the Head of HR department. One day Suman was called by the head of HR and he was asked about some feedback about his manager. Suman was encouraged to be candid and honest in his feedback and he was promised anonymity.
With that assurance, he spoke his heart out. After about a month, the HR manager was asked to go and Suman was left with huge shock. Until today, Suman worries if his feedback caused his exit!

One must be aware of the organisational politics, though you will not be party to them. Beware that you may be used as a pawn; beware of such tricky situations at work when you encounter them; play it delicately until you are sure of the organisation.

As one gains more experience, people will get seasoned in tackling tricky situations at work. However, during the early stages of the career, you may be vulnerable; watch out!

This article was published in: 

HR Mirror

Hans India

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