Solve Problems at Work Quickly and Efficiently by Using Online Forums and Communities

Solve Problems at Work Quickly and Efficiently by Using Online Forums and Communities

Today we have another guest post from Tamara M. Williams who writes career articles based on her personal and work experience. She shares tips so that readers can take the necessary steps to develop their careers further She also writes articles for EzineArticles and Squidoo on topics such as Technology, Marketing and Entertainment.

There are some days when you try to solve a problem, but still come up short. Online research is usually the best method to try in order to demonstrate your initiative in solving various problems. Yet not all solutions are readily available on Google. Instead, these problems will sometimes cause you to search multiple pages, only to become frustrated with the endless results of irrelevant information. Hence, joining various online forums and communities to learn from and ask question to will help you to solve problems quickly and more efficiently.

Imagine your typical workday when a problem arises. You search Google to no avail so you take the next logical step, which would be to ask colleagues or your supervisor for ideas. You could also ask them to provide a suggestion on where to look for past projects that had similar issues. In addition, trying a brainstorm session may work since multiple persons are contributing and revising ideas. Sometimes this works, but sometimes the problems are far more complicated.

That is why further research should be conducted and various ideas discussed within relevant online forums or communities. The typical places to look are on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google+. Just search using keywords until you come across the most appropriate group to join.

You can also dig a bit deeper by going to forums hosted by your professional associates or popular industry websites. These forums have numerous experts in the field that are available throughout the day. Members post a variety of issues far more frequently that in regular social media communities. Search these forums using a variety of keywords and test the suggested solutions to determine if one will work for you. You will also have the chance to offer assistance to others who are having difficulty solving problems that you have already faced and resolved. This will help you to build a network of experts to contact in your field.

By taking advantage of the wealth of knowledge and online presence of members in these mediums, you are able to get higher quality information and solutions more quickly. This will reduce your frustration since less time is spent on problem solving and now you can easily move on to the next phase of your project.

About the Author

Tamara M. Williams writes career articles based on her personal and work experience. She shares tips so that readers can take the necessary steps to develop their careers further. She also writes articles for EzineArticles and Squidoo on topics such as Technology, Marketing and Entertainment.

Also by Tamara

Career Success:Assess Your Work Expenses Every Month to Ensure That You Live Within Your Budget

Productivity Tip: Improve Your Productivity at Work by Keeping Notes for Every Project You Work on

 

Three Steps to Resolve Conflict as a Leader

Today we have a guest post from Nadia Jones who blogs at online college about education, college, student, teacher, money saving and movie related topics.

I believe her very sensible advice will be useful to all leaders and managers.

Three  Steps to Resolve Conflict as a Leader

As a leader, not only will you have to make sure that everyone stays on task and that all business matters are taken care of, but if there is conflict between two subordinates, know that one (or both) people are going to come to you asking for help to resolve the issue. If/when this occurs, you need to know how to approach and deal with this delicate matter the correct way. Below are a few tips that can help you get the ball rolling.

1. First, Meet with Each Party Individually

It’s important that you hear each side of the story before coming to  any conclusions. Get all the facts. You want to know what/who caused the problem. Ask each employee if they have any documented evidence or dates of when the incident(s) occurred. Take the time to piece the story together while also taking note of how each story differs from the other. While speaking with each individual, you want to make sure that you maintain a cordial and objective tone. You don’t want someone thinking that you favor one story over the other but you don’t want them thinking you’re against them either. Do your best to keep your tone neutral. The key here is to listen.

2. Meet with both parties together

After you have a better grasp of what’s going on and you’ve drawn your own conclusions about what the root of the problem really is (and come up with a possible solution), it’s time to meet with both parties at the same time. While still trying to maintain a cordial and unbiased/objective tone, reiterate to them what you think the real issue is according to your own understanding. Ask them if it’s correct. At this time give your employees a chance to state their version briefly if they feel the need to change some details. Listen to what each person has to say, but make sure to pay attention to body language as well. Let each person propose their own solutions but show that you expect them to reach agreement. If the conflict still can’t be resolved, suggest your own approach. Then ask the both parties which solution they’d prefer. Whatever you do, make sure that none of you leave without some sort of resolution.

3. Document Everything

Lastly, you want to make sure that you have a record of the finalized resolution to the conflict. Type out the agreement! Have both parties sign it and make them copies for their own records. Make sure that you give the original copy to the Human Resources Department so that if the same issue occurs again, you’ll have a record of what was agreed. Whoever is in breach of the agreement at a later date may have to suffer some serious career consequences!

Author Bio:

This is a guest post by Nadia Jones who blogs at online college about education, college, student, teacher, money saving, movie related topics. You can reach her at nadia.jones5 @gmail.com. 

So you think you are a great leader? Well here is a challenge! Part 3!

Arsenal V Manchester United: Football Fans: Ch...
What do they love?

Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion. Georg Wilhelm

In my last two  posts, I discussed how I started to think about leaders I’ve worked with and what the good ones had in common.  And that the more I thought, the more their success seemed to mould itself around the answers to a few relatively simple questions.

I thought of six main questions which of course then lead on to a number of subsidiary ones.  I asked the first two main questions on 8th April

Do people know why they are here?

Do you share the thinking?

and the second two on 11th April

What counts with you?

Are your managers up to the challenge?

Here today are the last two questions!

Do you really know what do they care about

Do you know what the people in your team are genuinely passionate about?  When was the last time you saw that spark in the eyes which shows real passion?  It may have had nothing what so ever to do with work.  What about when they are talking about the favourite soccer team.

Do you ever see anything like that when they are talking about work?

Perhaps not but there will be kinds of work,  and things  associated with work, that mean more to them than others.

You need to know those who work closest to you well enough to know what they are interested in! It is then up to them to do the same thing for their own team but you can ask if they have!

If you can, find roles for your team that aligns their work with their interests.

Occasionally, that can mean taking a risk and putting someone in an area where they don’t have much experience. But if performance in another role makes you think they can succeed in the new one, it’s usually worth it!  Their passion will fuel a strong desire to learn and grow. Once they’re up to speed, that passion can become a strong driver of innovation and growth.

Do you trust your people and do they know that?

One of the best things you can do is to let your managers know that you trust them and that you don’t intend to interfere in the day to day management of the organisation.

If they are any good, they will breathe a huge sigh of relief and double their commitment to you and your vision!

If you don’t trust them, you need to sort it out with them or move them out.

You won’t find that passion and commitment to the vision that I talk about above without trust.

Without trust your organisation will not deliver the superb performance that you crave.

Have the honesty to know if the real issues with trust are about you and not them.  If that is so, it is up to you to change yourself before you try to change them

So that is my list.  I’m sure it is by no means exhaustive?  What would you have expected to see?  What would you like to add? It has been quite a journey and I would love to hear from you

Wendy Mason works as a consultant, business coach and blogger. Adept at problem solving, she is a great person to bring in when that one thing you thought was straightforward turns out not to be! If you have a problem talk to Wendy – she can help you – email her at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)7867681439


So you think you are a great leader? Well here is a challenge! Part 2!

A helicopter is taking off Greenland Ice Sheet
“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”
Mark Twain
In my last post, I explained how I started to think about leaders I’ve worked with and what the good ones had in common.  And that the more I thought, the more their success seemed to mould itself around the answers to a few relatively simple questions.

I thought of six main questions which of course then lead on to a number of subsidiary ones.  I asked the first two main questions on 8th April:

Do people know why they are here?

Do you share the thinking?

The two questions for today are below and the last two should be here on Wednesday (13th April 2011)

What counts with you?

If you are a leader, you concentrate on the big picture.  When you stray into what you consider “essential” detail,  you need to be very clear what you mean and what the consequences might be!

If you have good people, the right governance regime and clarity about the goals; why would you need to dabble in the nitty gritty of day to day administration? Much better to stay up in your helicopter surveying the overall  country and deciding where to lead next!

When you dabble among other things you erase the confidence of your managers both in you and to a certain extent in themselves.  They will feel you don’t trust them to do the job they are employed to do! Besides, being a good leader doesn’t necessarily make you as good a manager as them!

If you don’t have good people, then make sure systems are put in place to train or replace them.

If you don’t have a governance regime that can stand up to scrutiny, then you need to do something and fast.

And yes, you do need to make sure that vision of yours has been turned into clear and achievable goals!

I know you can create a culture of performance by setting aggressive goals and holding your managers accountable for delivering them.  But if those goals are so aggressive  they fail constantly, they will give up trying and, if they are any good, they may move on pretty quickly.

Make sure your targets are a stretch but achievable.  And reassess them regularly because the world moves on.  They can scaled up or down

Are your managers up to the challenge?

This carries forward the issues raised above!  Have you got the right people in your senior management seats?  You need to be clear about the answer!  If you are new to the organisation. take stock of all the talent you have available and if necessary reshuffle the deck!

You need a  good team to have a chance of success. Don’t keep someone around just because they’ve been there a long time! You won’t achieve your vision if you don’t have managers who know how to manage! But give people a fair chance to succeed and be prepared to invest in good people.

Well,  that is plenty to think about for Monday! I’m still wondering if there is a leader out there who is brave enough to share your answers.  If there is I’d love to hear from you.  As I said before, I think honesty and bravery are key characteristics of great leaders and it’s not enough to be just good enough when it comes to leadership.

Related articles

Wendy Mason works as a consultant, business coach and blogger. Adept at problem solving, she is a great person to bring in when that one thing you thought was straightforward turns out not to be! If you have a problem talk to Wendy – she can help you – email her at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)7867681439

So you think you are a great leader? Well here is a challenge!

Left: CARL VENNE, Crow Indian Tribal Chairman ...
CARL VENNE, CROW INDIAN TRIBAL CHAIRMAN AND BARACK OBAMA

“Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.”   Japanese Proverb

I started to think about leaders I’ve worked with and what the good ones had in common.

The more I thought, the more their success seemed to mould itself around the answers to a few relatively simple questions.  Well actually those simple questions lead on to others more complex of course!

I’d love to see some of the less successful leaders I’ve known ask themselves some of these questions occasionally – I wonder whether the answer they’d give would be completely honest !

So I’ve decided to post two main questions today for you to think about over the weekend, two more will appear here on Monday (11th April 2011) and the last two should be here next Wednesday (13th April 2011)

Do people know why they are here?

Do you really share your vision?  Yes, I know you have a vision statement or some kind of grand statement of intent!  Yes I know it is on the intranet and, sure, it is at the front of your annual report!  It looks brilliant doesn’t it?  And you and the board thought the consultants you commissioned to develop it were pretty impressive.  But what do your people really think about it?

Yes, they can probably rehearse the words!

If they can’t you have real problems and a lot of work to do.

But let us assume they know the statement, do you talk to them about it?

Do you flesh it out and make it real?  Do you walk the talk – do you live the vision every day in your own work?  For example, if you say you are going to be a “listening” organisation, how good are you at listening?

If your vision doesn’t really mean anything to them what are you going to do about it?

Do you share the thinking?

One of your key responsibilities will be communicating new initiatives and strategy changes.

But do you go to your team with fully formed ideas without giving them the chance to contribute.

If so, how do they react? Are they defensive – do they resist the change you want to make?

What do you think would happen if you gave your key people an informal heads-up about the change you plan – let them know some of the reasoning behind it?

I suspect they would be grateful and even if they didn’t like what you plan to do they could begin to get used to it! That means when you make your announcement to the wider world they can back you up, at the very least!

If you shared an idea while you were forming it, they could add their thinking to your’s.  They might even warn you about that old elephant trap out there that you know nothing about, yet.  Wouldn’t that prevent some embarrassment?  You know what I mean don’t you?  You can remember last time?

Their contribution should be valuable, make your ideas stronger and should make your strategy easier to deliver.

When you can’t avoid springing something on your team, do you explain why and take the time to let them know the reasoning behind the decision?

Well, that is quite enough for a Friday post!  Plenty to think about! But I wonder if there is a leader out there who is brave enough to share your answers.  If there is I’d love to hear from you.  You see I think honesty and bravery are key characteristics of great leaders and it’s not enough to be just good enough when it comes to leadership.

Wendy Mason works as a consultant, business coach and blogger. Adept at problem solving, she is a great person to bring in when that one thing you thought was straightforward turns out not to be! If you have a problem talk to Wendy – she can help you – email her at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)7867681439

Paragons of virtue or the perfusion of good team leadership?

US Women's Soccer Team at 2003 World Cup

When choosing team members to complete tasks in your organization, what kind of people do you look for?

Yes I know Belbin says you should have;

  • One Co-ordinator or Shaper (not both) for leader
  • A Plant to stimulate ideas
  • A Monitor/evaluator to maintain honesty and clarity
  • • One or more Implementer, Team worker, Resource investigator or Completer/finisher to make things happen

So here we have a range of different personality types, let us make a second assumption – they are all technically competent. Now what else do you look for in your teams in real life?

Well, I like people I can count on to get things done; people who will do their share of the work and not find ways to off load it to others. Sound’s boring doesn’t it? But if I have an important project, reliable team members are invaluable.

I like to have people who will speak up and express their thoughts directly, but with respect for other team members.

And I would like them to have enough confidence to tell me, if we are getting something wrong as a team. Of course, I’d like them to have the discretion to tell me that bad news behind closed doors.

But I’d like us all to be able to listen, and to listen actively, as well as speaking up.

What I would give to find active engagement and people willing have ago at something new as well?

How about being able to recognise risk and knowing when to take it?

Of course I want the team to work cooperatively with each other and share the hard times as well as the good. If they can look beyond their own interests to those of the team, then we all win.

Well, have I found these paragons of virtue?

Oh yes, I have. I’ve seen them in action a number of times but not always working for me!

You see so much depends on the leader and the climate the leader creates!

There are many, many people who can do well in teams when they are well led.

They can flower and do things they never dreamed of!

All it takes is someone to create the climate in which they can thrive and someone who can share a vision in which they can believe.

So that means it’s down to you then really doesn’t it? It’s your team but can you turn them into winners?

I’d welcome the comments on what I’ve written above. Do you think I’m being too hard on leaders – have I set the bar too high? Are my expectations unrealistic? I’d love to have your views!

Related articles

Wendy Mason works as a consultant, business coach and blogger. Adept at problem solving, she is a great person to bring in when that one thing you thought was straightforward turns out not to be! If you have a problem talk to Wendy – she can help you – email her at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)7867681439

Planning an Event? Don’t let your flyer, fly away with you!

Famous Cat Merlin with Witch

I just read a flyer for a two day event to be held in the summer and it left me with lots of questions.

The blurb on the front asks

  • What people problems keep your top team awake at night?
  • What are your leaders doing to develop their own skills?
  • How will the workplace change over the next ten years?
  • Are you prepared for those changes?
  • Do you have the right talent in the right place?
  • Can you keep the talent that you need?

It then talks about managing people to win customers and public approval and market share!

The speakers cover everything from career development to employment law as it applies at director level.

By implication at the end of the two days the questions above will be answered.

I was left wondering!

I looked at the speakers and I see a number of academics and coaches and others with exemplary experience of management.

Sadly I saw no wizards or anyone else competent to wield a magic wand or to read a crystal ball.

I am sure this will be a fantastic event and those present will feel it was thoroughly worthwhile. At the very least I’m sure they will hear about the latest developments in Human Resources.

But will they have solutions to the problems that are keeping their Board awake at night.  Oh I suspect not!

In the present climate, much as we might wish they would, I suspect most board directors are not prioritising their personal development .  Sad as it may be for HR Directors, I suspect most organisations are in survival, down size, out-source mode.  At least these will challenge the skills of highly competent HR professionals!

As for how the workplace will change over the next ten years.  Well now there’s a question!  I doubt if the group are going to spend much time scenario planning – see earlier posts here!

I doubt the Trades Descriptions Act applies to this kind of event!  And what a good thing it doesn’t, if it doesn’t!  Otherwise, how bored we should be by the flyers!

The message for me was this.  In these days of austeritiy be very careful. If you want people to come to your training event make sure it bears some relationship to current reality!  And if you are choosing an event to attend (and spend money on) make sure you read the flyer, very, very carefully.

Wendy Mason works as a consultant, business coach and blogger. Adept at problem solving, she is a great person to bring in when that one thing you thought was straightforward turns out not to be! If you have a problem talk to Wendy – she can help you – email her atwendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)7867681439