Sticky situations

Sticky situations like ‘Post-its’ tend to stick with us for long and have the capacity to pull us down. As communicators, we work collaboratively across divisions and functions and often get caught up in waves of uncertainty and non-clarity. At the same time, as communicators we must be able to dip into our skills and figure the best way out.

Do you remember the last time you were embroiled in a sticky situation and nothing seemed to work? What did you do? How did you come out eventually? Let us look at solutions and adaptable behaviors that can aid us at such times. 

Change your first reaction

When caught up in a tight situation, our first reaction is denial. We argue. We get defensive. We try to prove our point is the right one. All of this only creates further mess. If you truly want to develop a solution-oriented mindset, then chuck the ‘denial’ attitude out of the window. Embrace openness and acceptance.

Learn to listen

Oh, this one sounds easy doesn’t it? No, it is not. Let’s face it – we love to listen to our own voice. Get out of the ‘hearing’ mode and make a conscious shift to the ‘listening’ mode. Listening helps you stay focused and contribute meaningfully.

Leave your ego behind

This is a big one. We all have egos. Letting go of it when we enter into discussions takes a level of maturity – be willing to sit on the table with others and absorb different points of views. Use your expertise to put across your point clearly but with humility. Treat everyone with respect.

Be clear

Clarity brings in engagement. Without engagement there is no action. Deliberate over a situation beforehand, look at all pros and cons before putting it out there. The more prepared you are with your inputs, the better you will be able to drive the results. Do not expect people to read your mind and know your thoughts! Talk. Be transparent.

Stay true to your promise

As a team player we all have our individual roles to play that converge to achieving the key goal set out by the team in the beginning. Be careful of what you commit to. Once you have made a commitment, ensure you stay true to your role and deliver what you have promised and/or is expected of you. Keep a track record of things done and accomplished. Stay true to the time lines drawn. Do not over promise and under-deliver. 

Push back where and when required

Yes, you read this right. Once you have articulated your commitment, push back on whatever extras come your way. Often as communicators we are given just about any sundry job and are expected to deliver. Say no where and when you think it is necessary to be on track with your skill sets and expertise. When you push back, do so with courage and respect for the other person. Pushing back does not mean you have to be aggressive! Learn to make your point with ease and clarity and stick to it.

Trust others 

Collaboration works best when there is trust. Trust that each one will perform and play his/her role and stay true to what is expected of them. Cultivating trust and then extending it to your team can smoothen out many a wrinkle that can otherwise hinder the outcome. Learn to let go and avoid micro managing others. Do not snoop!

Accept what is not working

Not all ideas are workable. Accept it when things don’t go right or don’t follow a predictable path. Only with acceptance can new ideas emerge. Also learn to stop working on unproductive ideas. Bring your focus back to what is doable. Most importantly, stay energised. Keep your momentum going.

Improve yourself

Sticky situations are great teachers. Pick up your lessons on what has worked and what could have been avoided. Improve yourself accordingly. Do not rest on your laurels. If you really want to grow in your career, then you will need to continuously reinvent yourself.

When stuck, sometimes all that you may need to do is take a break that can help you shift your thinking and change your line of direction.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Sarita Bahl
Country Group Head CSR at Bayer - South Asia
Sarita Bahl leads the Corporate Social Responsibility function for Bayer South Asia and is also the Director – Bayer Prayas Association. Prior to this, she successfully oversaw the communications and public affairs function for Bayer South Asia. Over her three decades of professional experience, Sarita has held multiple roles across diverse industries, public sector, trade associations, MNCs and the Not-for-profit sector. An alumnus of Tata Institute of Social Science and the Swedish Institute of Management Program, Sarita specializes in stakeholder engagement, sustainability and communications. She is passionate about animals (is mother to a female cat), books and movies.

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