The Magic of Perspective

Misunderstandings, differences of opinion and botched communication happen every day in the workplace. Working in HR comes with all sorts of interesting predicaments due to that fact. Some situations are more challenging than others. There are very few, in my opinion, that can’t be helped by gaining a little more perspective. *note I didn’t say “solved” but helped!

It sounds great, but how do we get perspective? Especially in the heat of the moment?

Effort and Practice

Make an attempt to think about the other person’s experience. It’s not always a natural response for some to keep your emotions in check, especially in high stress situations. The wonderful thing about our brains is that they are trainable. If you practice being aware of your feelings and try to be mindful of the feelings of those around you, you can improve even if it’s not something that comes naturally to you. The more you practice, the more it becomes your response.

Respond, Don’t React

Take a breath before you take any action. Will this matter next week? Next month? Next year? Chances are, your response in the moment has a lot to do with how you and the other folks involved are feeling right now and less about the issue itself. Realize that it’s very rare that those who are pushing your buttons are doing so intentionally. They’re not thinking about you. You’re thinking about you. And they’re thinking about themselves. That’s what happens. It helps to keep that in mind when things come to a head. Whatever is going on is not personal. So breathe and work through it.

Don’t Forget What’s Working

When you spend the bulk of your time focusing on what is going wrong in a situation, you are inevitably forgetting what’s going right. Don’t lose sight of the good things. It’s easier for people to focus on the negative. Sadly, our brains are wired that way. The good news is we’re able to combat it if we try. So go ahead and try to remember the positive and get in touch with your inner optimist. It could change your entire take on a situation.

Lean On Someone Logical

We’ve all got them. Those rocks in our lives that help us to see reason when we think it’s not possible. Someone who is outside of the situation or environment can see clearly and objectively, when you’re unable to. Rely on them for reactions, advice and guidance. All the better if it’s someone trusted by many parties involved in the challenging scenario. Their opinion could give you an entirely different view of the situation that impacts how you respond.

The world is hectic. The only constant is change. The sooner you work on tactics to help you see challenging situations differently, the better off you’ll be. It’s a talent that is useful in so many ways both professionally and personally. Nurture that talent and it will payoff big time.


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Kelly Poulson

Kelly has spent her career helping people kick ass and become better versions of themselves. Coaching, training, recruiting – you name it, she’s done it, and in a variety of industries ranging from advertising to behavioral health to tourism and beyond. Be it supporting new managers in their journeys from uncertain supervisors to rock star bosses, helping lost newbies zero in on what they want from their careers and find their inner confidence to ask for (and receive) that promotion, or enabling leaders to be more self-aware in their management styles and more skillfully interact with those around them, she’s done it all. Outside of pushing to make people and organizations better, Kelly spends most of her time marathoning Netflix programming with her mutt, Dexter. Connect with Kelly.

Reader Interactions


  1. Tameika Halliman says

    This article is so timely for me as I am preparing to have a talent engagment talk with one of my Directors. Great article!


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