In every work setting, there will be times when someone has to take control of a situation. This can be a simple task such as fixing a mistake on a project or redirecting a team going off course. It can also be more complex, such as handling a complicated customer service issue or managing a workplace crisis. No matter what the situation, there are specific steps you can take to ensure that you are in control and that the issue is resolved quickly and efficiently.
What Does it Mean to Take Control of a Situation?
It means clearly understanding the situation and taking the necessary steps to manage it in a way that leads to the desired outcome. In some cases, this may require decisive action — in others, it may involve being proactive rather than reactive.
Either way, taking control of a situation usually means taking charge and leading the way, being decisive when others are hesitant, or acting when others are paralyzed by fear or indecision to salvage a difficult situation.
In other words, you step up and volunteer to handle a problem or take on extra responsibility to deal with whatever situation it is. There are many ways to take control of a situation. Here are 18 examples of taking control of a situation:
1. Saying What you Don’t Want
When someone is trying to step on your toes at work, be assertive and say what you do and do not want. It is essential to be clear about what you will and will not tolerate in the workplace.
For example, if someone is trying to take over a project that you’re working on, let them know that you’re still in charge of the project and that they should talk to you if they have any questions.
Likewise, if someone is constantly interrupting you or taking over your conversations, let them know that you need some time to focus and that they can talk to you later.
By setting boundaries and communicating effectively, you can take control of the situation at work and avoid any conflict with your co-workers.
2. Speaking up if a Meeting is Veering Off-topic
If you feel like a meeting is veering off track, steer the conversation back to the main topic. Do not be afraid to speak up. Politely remind everyone of the original discussion points.
For example, if someone starts talking about their weekend plans, steer the conversation back to the original topic by saying something like, “I think we are getting off track.
Let us stay focused on the agenda.” This will keep you in control and ensure that everyone stays on the topic and that the meeting progresses smoothly.
Read also: 15 Examples of Taking Ownership
3. Not Shying Away from Tough Decisions
Making tough decisions without wavering is a critical leadership skill. It shows that you are confident in your convictions and willing to stand by them even when challenged.
It also sends a message to your team that you are ready to make difficult calls, even if they might not be popular.
Be prepared to back up your decision with rationale and evidence so that you can confidently stand by it when questioned by others.
A solid argument will make you appear in control and help ensure that your decision is given the serious consideration it deserves.
4. Dealing with Office Politics
Politics in the workplace can be tricky, and it is often easy to get caught up in them without even realizing it. The best way to deal with office politics is to avoid it as much as possible.
However, there may be times when you find yourself in the middle of gossiping or when someone is targeting you specifically. In these situations, remain calm and diplomatically address the problem.
Try to steer the conversation back to work-related topics, and avoid commenting on or getting drawn into personal disputes.
At the end of the day, remember that office politics can be highly toxic and often has nothing to do with actual work performance. So do your best to keep things professional and stay away from any drama.
5. Having a Solid Agenda when Meeting your Boss
When meeting with your boss, always be prepared with clear agenda points. It shows you have a clear plan for what you want to discuss and achieve from the meeting. This is very important, especially if your boss is a busy person.
You just have to be concise when speaking. Do not ramble on or waste time with unnecessary detail — get to the point and make your case clearly and effectively.
A solid agenda will help keep the meeting on track and ensure that all relevant topics are discussed. Remember, your goal is to persuade your boss to see things your way — so make sure your argument is strong.
6. Remaining Calm in Difficult Situations
It can be challenging to remain calm and level-headed in difficult situations, especially when emotions run high. However, taking control of the situation is crucial, and do not let your emotions get the best of you.
Stay focused and try to understand what is happening. Take a step back and assess the situation before doing anything or taking action. Do not let your emotions guide your actions, leading to adverse outcomes.
If you need to walk away for a while, that is okay — just make sure you come back when you are ready and do not let anger or frustration cloud your judgment. By remaining in control of your emotions, you’ll be better able to handle whatever situation.
An old saying goes, “fortune favors the bold.” And it could not be more true when it comes to working. When you see a problem or challenge arise, do not wait for someone else to step up and take charge.
Take the initiative yourself and offer potential solutions. Not only will this show your boss that you are proactive and solution-oriented, but it will also make you look like a leader and team player.
Also, if your solutions are implemented, you will get the credit for fixing the problem – not to mention that you have prevented any harmful consequences that may have come with it.
Also read: 16 Examples of Taking Responsibility at Work
8. Not being Afraid to Say No
Saying no is not always easy, but sometimes you have to say it if you want to manage your time effectively. In fact, most people find it difficult to say no because they want to be seen as helpful and cooperative.
However, you need to remember that you cannot do everything, and by saying no, you are freeing up time to focus on the most important things.
When we do not say no, we take on more than we can handle, leading to frustration and other undesirable issues.
9. Exhibiting Confidence
Yes, you should always act confidently, even when you do not feel 100% sure of yourself. First, it is essential to remember that nobody is entirely confident all the time — we all have moments where we doubt ourselves.
So always put on a brave face, project self-assurance, and carry yourself with poise, even when you are not feeling confident on the inside.
People who seem insecure or unsure often make others uneasy, so radiate confidence even when you do not feel it inside. It will boost your own self-esteem.
Also, confidence is often contagious. When you act confidently around other people, they see you positively — making them trust and respect you.
10. Listening than Barking Orders
Barking orders and trying to steamroll people typically do not work well — acting superior often leads to tension and resistance and will not get you very far.
A better strategy is to listen more than you talk and try to understand the situation before taking action. This does not mean that you should let people walk all over you.
It simply means that sometimes the best way to assert yourself is by showing that you are willing to listen, compromise, and take people into account — you will get them on your side and make them more willing to cooperate. And that is when you can start taking control of the situation.
11. Setting the Tone for Others to Follow
Leading by example is a meaningful way to set the tone for others to follow. When you demonstrate a positive attitude, professionalism, and productivity, it sets the standard for others in the workplace.
Stay focused and motivated to be productive and successful. A positive attitude is contagious and can help to lift the spirits of others around you.
It is also vital to stay professional during trying times; screaming or throwing a temper tantrum will only worsen matters. Maintaining composure under pressure shows strength and can intimidate underperforming employees into working harder.
12. Addressing Conflicts Head-on
Address conflicts head-on — deal with problems as they arise instead of letting them fester. Trying to ignore conflicts or problems at work can be tempting, but this often just worsens the situation in the long run.
When you address issues as they arise, you take control of the problem and hopefully resolve things in a way that benefits everyone involved.
Also, it is always better to have difficult conversations sooner rather than later — it is much harder to repair relationships or fix problems if they have been allowed to simmer for too long.
13. Taking Control of Your Time
When work gets busy, the first step is to look at your schedule and see where you have the most room for improvement. Are there tasks that can be delegated? Can you work more efficiently by batching similar jobs together?
Once you have a better idea of how you can optimize your time, start planning each day in advance. This will help you stay focused on the task and avoid getting overwhelmed.
Set priorities and stick to them. Trying to do everything at once can be tempting when you have too much work. However, this is not possible and only leads to frustration. So, focus on the most important tasks and put off less important tasks until later.
Read also: 18 Examples of Exceeding Expectations
14. Reassessing Goals and Making Adjustments as Needed
If you are having trouble meeting your goals, it is time to take a step back and assess what is happening. Those goals were likely unrealistic in the first place, or you may have lost focus and needed to set new targets. Sometimes our goals become too lofty, and we need to adjust them to be more realistic.
Make sure your goals are realistic — it is good to be ambitious, but only aim too high if you know you will achieve your goals. Be honest with yourself and revise your plans accordingly.
Set a timeline for completion — giving yourself specific deadlines will help keep you accountable and on track — you do not want to set yourself up for failure.
15. Calling out an Underperforming Colleague
If you have a consistently underperforming colleague, you must have a candid conversation about the expectations and help them create a plan to improve.
First, let your colleague know that you appreciate the effort they are putting in but that their performance needs to meet the standards of the team. Explain what areas they need to improve and be clear about what you see in them.
Offer your colleague help and support to improve their performance, but make it clear that there are no excuses for continued poor work.
By having a candid conversation, you are allowing them to improve — but you are also holding them accountable for their actions.
16. Dealing with a Customer complaint
Customer service can be one of the most challenging aspects of any job. You are dealing with public members who may be angry, upset, or just plain difficult. It is vital to remain calm and professional at all times.
Take the time to listen to what the customer is saying and empathize with their situation.Once you have all the information, apologize for not meeting their expectations and let them know that you are committed to fixing the issue.
Then, create a plan outlining what you will do to make things right. Be specific about what went wrong, what you will do to make it right, and how long it will take.
Your plan should address the customer’s concerns and ensure that the problem will not happen again. And finally, follow through on your plan — making things right should be your top priority.
Thank the customer for their patience and let them know that you appreciate their business. Then keep the client updated on your progress.
17. Managing a Workplace Crisis
No one likes dealing with crises, but sometimes they are unavoidable. When a workplace crisis does occur, it is essential to maintain a level head and not panic.
Take charge of the situation and delegate tasks accordingly. Make sure everyone knows their role and the importance of working together to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.
Keep lines of communication open, so everyone is on the same page and address any concerns that arise.
Taking swift and decisive action can minimize the damage caused by a workplace crisis and get your business back on track in no time.
Read also: 17 Examples of Personal Aspirations
18. Fixing a Mistake
We all make mistakes. It is human nature. But what separates good employees from great ones is how they handle those mistakes. When you make a mistake at work, own up to it immediately.
Do not try to cover it up or pass the blame onto someone else. That will only make things worse.
Take responsibility for your actions and then take corrective action to fix the problem. If you do this, you will gain your boss’s and co-workers’ trust and respect.
How Do You Take Control in Any Situation?
1. Keep Calm and Carry on
This one might seem obvious, but it is vital nonetheless. When things start going wrong, it is easy to become emotional and lose your cool. But if you can keep your head on straight, you will be in a much better position to take control of the situation.
2. Take a Step Back
Once you have calmed yourself down, it is time to take a step back and assess the situation. What exactly is happening? What is the cause of the problem? And most importantly, what can be done to fix it?
By taking a moment to gather your thoughts, you will be able to come up with a plan of attack more quickly and efficiently.
3. Communicate with those Involved
Once you have a plan, it is time to start communicating with those involved in the situation. Clear and concise communication is critical when dealing with co-workers, customers, or superiors.
Explain what happened, what you are doing to fix it, and how long it will take to resolve the issue.
4. Take Responsibility for your Role in the Situation
It is important to remember that even if you did not cause the problem, you still have a role to play in solving it. By taking responsibility for your part in the situation — even if that part is small — you will gain the trust and respect of those around you.
5. Stay Positive and Focused on the Solution
Finally, no matter how bad things seem, staying positive and focused on finding a solution is essential. Things will eventually improve, but only if you keep your head up and work towards a resolution.
Taking control of a situation at work can be daunting, but it is essential to remember that you are not alone. No one wants to deal with a difficult work situation, but sometimes it is unavoidable.
When those times come, staying calm and taking control of the situation are essential. You can take steps to ensure that you are in control and that the issue is resolved quickly and efficiently.
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