Introduction to Working Through Difficult Situations

No amount of careful planning and knowledge can completely eliminate the possibility of miscommunication and conflict. In difficult situations, it is best to take immediate steps to mitigate social fallout, resolve conflicts and repair relationships.

In the oil and gas industry, if a relationship sours, it’s not always possible to avoid the party in question – you may be required by your job to keep interacting with them regularly! Developing strategies to reach a point of reconciliation and compromise not only makes your day-to-day life more comfortable, but also enables your organization to function and reach its goals more efficiently

Why It Matters

Organizations – be they oil and gas companies, government agencies or NGOs – value employees who have the ability to mend broken relationships and quickly reach compromises during conflict. Sour social bonds are weak links that hamper operations and can even affect the public’s opinion of an organization. Since difficult situations will inevitably arise, developing adaptable and consistent solutions is crucial. These skills are not only important for the effective operations of these organizations – they can make or break your career!

Learning Objectives

  • Describe how to prepare for a difficult conversation
  • Learn strategies to avoid defensive reactions
  • Formulate questions to learn individuals’ values and motivations
  • Evaluate one’s own communications for clarity and directness
  • Learn how to develop and maintain trust in relationships
  • Restate the EPA’s seven strategies for developing credibility
  • Determine which types of appeal will develop credibility for your organization

Images: “Hedge Maze” by Eric Fidler licensed under CC BY NC 2.0