I recently got a conversation with my team leader. He told me that I'm currently not solution-oriented and not self-organized. And that I have to do something about it. I'll try to do better, but that feels aimless to me.

What are common trainings for those soft skills?

P.S.: I went to university, studied computer science and I'm working for two and a half year until now.


Thank you for your answers. I try to find out what's behind my team leader's arguments. Sadly he didn't tell me examples about what I do wrong. I like JonAlbs answer the most, because he included some pratical advice.

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4 Answers 4


Sorry, for me this is WAY too open-ended a question. Can you clarify?

WHY does your team lead feel this way?

"Not solution-oriented" - Does this mean you only complain when you find a problem? Do you just bring problems to someone else for an answer? Are you just not experienced enough to find answers/solutions yourself?

"Not self-organized" - Again, why this feeling? Are you not getting your work done on time? Do you lose things, are you late, do you forget information, etc?

I would agree with you; trying to fix it is 'aimless' until you know exactly what traits you're trying to address.


Trevor is right. Management 101 says, when providing feedback, to give very specific, concrete, and measurable examples of work behaviors that both need to continue or need to disappear. Tell your team leader he needs to do something about that.

These two examples are value interpretations of a set of behaviors. You cannot do anything with that. He owes you more information.

  • 1
    +1. Also get him to tell you what self-organised and solution-oriented would look like, if you were to do them.
    – Lunivore
    Aug 4, 2011 at 8:49
  • 1
    This answer and comment are right on the money. You need him to get specific. "What specific behaviors can I model in order to correct this situation?" "What specific events occurred in order to lead you to the conclusion that I'm not self organized and solution focused?" "What would a person who was self-organized/solution focused do with the current tasks I have?" Aug 4, 2011 at 14:19

What are common trainings for those soft skills?

in my case it was a book ("Getting things done" by David Allen). Imho, following GTD methodology a great way to become organized and result-oriented

Defining projects, breaking them into actionable items and assigning contexts really helps to achieve desired results

  • 1
    Hi Steve, welcome to PMSE! In general, we encourage answers that provide explanation and a summary where resources are concerned. Why did this book help you and why do you recommend it? What are the key points in the book that you could post in this answer so that visitors don't have to go buy the book just to understand its high level value? Since we're a collaboratively edited Q&A site, you can use this edit link to continue to build upon this answer. Please see How to Answer for more guidance. Good luck! :)
    – jmort253
    Nov 2, 2012 at 23:06

It sounds like your team leader wants you to get more focused. My first suggestion would be to get into another conversation with him and ask him what he means but these are my thoughts:

Solution Oriented: Developers can often get for problems rather than solutions, it's a natural trait we get into. Rather than looking at the hurdles, look at what can be achieved; look at the bigger picture and what can be do to make it better. Just looking at the issue in detail might fix the small issue you have encountered, but in some cases, looking at the problem in the context of the entire system might lead to to an alternative solution that is better for the customer and perhaps quicker to achieve. Rather than being problem focused (negative), you become more positive and solution focused.

Not Self Organised: Seems a little harsh to say you aren't organised at all, but it suggests this is an area for improvement. You should look at time management techniques. I find using a paper based diary and notebook helps me. Make sure you plan each week and especially each day before you start work. Write down everything you want to achieve this week/day and plan out which hours in the day you will do each bit of work. As you achieve the work in the day, tick/cross out of each task in the diary. At the end of the day, roll over important things to the following days. This way you will produce a log of everything you do and you will know what you should be doing. One of the biggest wastes of time is jumping between tasks; people can only effectively do one thing at a time, so make sure you have a nice list of single pieces of work you are working through. The biggest waste of time is jumping between tasks, so by planning your day this way you are getting rid of a lot of wasted time. If the task is big, break it up into smaller manageable chunks and tick each one as you achieve them.

If you really want to impress your line manager, send a summary of the tasks you achieve each week to them; you will be surprised how much work you do (and how much more you will do when you plan your time more effectively).

Good luck.

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