How To Overcome Adversity In The Workplace

We’ll all face adversity every now and then, but some of us find it easier to flourish when things begin to get difficult than others. Learning how to overcome this adversity within the workplace is one way that some employees stand out from the rest, as they can tackle issues which would stop others in their tracks.

If you’re someone who struggles to deal with or overcome adversity, particularly in the workplace, then learning how to will do wonders for any issues you may face in the future.

Not everyone is comfortable with handling adverse conditions within the workplace, particularly when their job is on the line. But, those who know how to use adversity to their advantage are equipped with a great skill.

The truth is, however, that no one can escape from having to deal with adversity and we all must address it at some point during our careers. It is knowing how to deal with this adversity in the right way which decides how the situation will evolve. Whilst it may be difficult to avoid instinctive emotions, it is learning how to learn from these situations and move on.

So, how exactly do you overcome adversity in the workplace without risking it all?


We all know that actions speak louder than words and this is something that people who have the ability to face adversity succeed in doing. It is all well and good to speak about something that you believe in, especially in the workplace, but actually doing something about it is a completely different thing.

This is one quality which will almost guarantee your success, as well as being willing enough to stick with it and refuse to settle for anything less. In order to overcome a crisis, you have to be fully committed to finding a way to move forward.

When you approach a problem, being motivated and determined will help to create a mindset which helps you to look at adversity as something which must be solved and overcome. Often, dilemmas, problems and obstacles offer us a chance to create and change an alternative path and push forward to take bigger steps towards our goals.

Improve your employee engagement

Improve your employee engagement in less than two minutes

Get started for free today.

Free sign up

Take responsibility

When faced with a difficult situation at work, now is not the time for you to blame others for what has happened. Blaming various leadership mistakes or co-worker mistakes will only reflect badly on you, no matter if they were in the wrong.

Feeling sorry for yourself will do you little to no good and it can actually be detrimental to your ability to be able to take the next steps forward and come up with solutions.

When people face adversity in the workplace, most of the time people often shy away from owning up to the responsibility that their actions have had on the situation in question. Rather than blaming others for professional setbacks, it is best for you to respond to it in a way which works in your favour.

Spend time processing the situation and what you personally could have done differently, then take responsibility for your actions. You must be able to make peace with the consequence that your actions have had and accept the situation for what it is.

Considering what mistakes or mishaps that you have made will make you a more productive employee in the long-run. Knowing what you did wrong will make you more unlikely to make the same mistakes.

Identify new goals

When your work life gets tough, then it helps you to refocus if you have a very clear idea of why you are doing exactly what you are doing. If you have a set purpose of the goals you want to achieve, then you’ll be even more motivated to push through until you are successful.

Often, things happen which are well beyond our control and this can knock our goals out of line. But, if you are working on achieving something that is meaningful to you, then you will find a way back to it.

If you have lost out on a promotion, then try to not dwell on the reasons as to why you didn’t get it and instead focus solely on the positives. Remember, you had the right qualifications and skills that were needed to apply, but it might be time for you to consider how you can better present these to employers.

When you feel as though you are at the lowest point of your professional life and that you have nothing else to lose, then this is the perfect time for you to reconsider and reset your goals. Establishing a new direction to move in allows you to take account of the situation.

If your work life gets tough or a knock back has had a huge effect on the decisions surrounding your career, then why not do something completely new? Applying for a new job overseas or transitioning into another sector is new and exciting and refuels the passion you may have lost during the setback.

Do what it takes to make these thoughts a reality. Get in touch with immigration lawyers or a HR company and see what it is you need to make this transition. Research the cost of living, the best locations to move to and what else you need to live there comfortably and once you have a better understanding, work to achieve this.

overcome adversity

Image: Unsplash

Change the way you think of negative feedback

If you’ve ever received negative feedback before, then you’ll be aware of how it makes you feel. Instinctively, you want to react and defend yourself, but it is important you don’t lash out right away.

Negative feedback can be tough to handle. We all know that it is much more encouraging when you receive positive compliments rather than negative comments, as doing so can make you question whether you are on the right track.

But, negative feedback is part of everyday life, especially if you work closely with managers or CEOs who want the company to run the way that they envision it. People will always have a difference of opinions and this is particularly true within the workplace. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and say what they want if it has an effect on them.

When receiving negative feedback, remember that it isn’t a judgement on your abilities. It is just a response to your actions and how you can better use your abilities next time you are faced with the same issue. If your manager is telling you to improve, then remember that this isn’t a judgement of your abilities.

Whilst receiving negative feedback, although it may feel like a personal attack, you must try to change the way that your emotions react. Interpret any feelings of anger or upset as a form of passion – you wouldn’t be feeling this way if you weren’t proud of the work you had done, or if you didn’t want to be respected within your workplace.

Not being able to properly accept and take on board negative feedback can lead to feelings of stress and managers know this when providing it, so remember this hopefully isn’t a decision they have taken lightly.

Managers have a duty of care for employees and want to prevent employee burnout, which is something that can happen after giving bad feedback as employees can feel overwhelmed and like their work isn’t good enough.

In summary

People who can rebound from periods of adversity truly begin this process by believing in themselves and believing that they can find a way forward. If you constantly feel powerless or that you can’t do things, then you are unlikely to find a way where you can be successful.

Overcoming adversity is all about having confidence, in yourself and your abilities, and having a strong belief in your personal abilities. You must be open minded and have a willingness to balance your talent and know-how to overcome any issues.

Whilst it is true that you need to be realistic and have the ability to see situations for what they truly are, if you continue to constantly see everything in a negative light then you will only see things in a bad light.

Adversity is something which can be overcome and, whilst you may not realise it at the time, this may be one of the best things for both you personally and your career.


About the Author

Alice Porter is a business writer who aims to share her knowledge with like minded professionals. She works closely with IAS to educate business owners on how to create a more diverse and successful work environment.

Team 6Q

Team 6Q