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Describe a difficult task you were faced with and how you addressed it.

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M. Lavern’s Answer

Every office has that one person that come to work early and leave late, being a detail person has it perks and not so much.. . When you become that go to person better known as the trouble shooter their is a way to stay a head. When you working for several managers in a department you can get stress out with all the different demands coming your way. I was chosen to finish a project at the end of the deadline, which was measure in hours down to the last seconds. Don't lose it, just have a plan. Most of the time if this is not your project from the start you can play hero at this point saving the day. Always be positive in your approach..To manage your tasks effectively, I highly recommend you try a program, such as outlook or any mail services you are comfortable with using. (study all the tips and tricks to get you by faster). When a request come across your desk write an email to yourself (It will serve as a back up of their request) and then you can schedule for time and task time to be completed or when the issue should be address with that person. Make a folder for all the managers are clients, put all commutations receive from that person in there folder and your responses in case you need reference information. Save and never delete ( you may run into another project in the future that follow the same guidelines Set task time for your self. what you do in the morning, noon, and closed of day task. schedule those task you did not finish to be the first on your to do list for the next day. If you have a difficult task or project divide it or break it down in the equal parts. Label each part ABC and write notes in your email under that project. For example, I have a week to this get this done. Monday work on Part A, Tuesday B etc. The notes you took summarize the notes to add icing the cake and present it with the finish project as a cover letter. If you are projects in parts you can still get your routine work in so that you want fall behind working in part limit you time on one project such as an hour a day so you will be refresh for the new part. Hang in there. Good luck

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Waldir’s Answer

Hello Quiana,

Difficult tasks normally cause the fear of failure. This is normal for everybody, including the most experimented people in the organizations.
This felling is an indicator of responsability and moderately, it is positive on my point of view.

In my case, the most difficult task that I have as entrepreneur, is when I have to fire somebody that does not deserves.
Economic crises or strategic decisions by the board, sometimes places you in the situation to fire somebody.

I had this experience some years ago, when I had to cut 20% of human resources expenses that represented six people in the company.

The economy was doing bad, and it was mandatory to adjust the structure of the company to the market that I had at that time.
Efforts on the way to expand the market, increase market share to justify the structure, or wait for a better economy enviroment was not possible at that time, and would represent a huge increasing of risk for other ones.

The key point was one of the selected employees to be fired was my wife, who was working in my company since I started.

I felt bad for months, with the felling of failure and to have promoted something not fair, not only because my wife, but due all the other five families that I had to fire.
My wife was worst for me, because I live and I need to face her every day.
Several times, when discussing this point with my wife, tears appeared in my face.

The decison was taken basically because my family could survive with just my pro-labore during that time. The impact in my family budget, would be lower than other families.

Fortunately, after some months the economy rised up again, and she accepted to join the team again.

These situations make us strong and prepared for new challenges.

Basically I suggest when you are facing difficul tasks like this, carefully diagnose the problem, list all alternatives and define the strategy based in what is better for the group and not what is more convenient for someone.

This is the first time that I share this history.

Thank you for your question and I hope I could contribute with you.

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Doloris’s Answer

I believe the key to difficult situations is impactful communication. You cannot approach every situation in a cookie-cutter fashion and may find yourself tailoring your communication style based on the person receiving this information.

The beginning of my career I worked in collections, which can be pretty difficult and stressful within itself. I often found myself getting extremely frustrated with the amount of stress that came with these types of uncomfortable customer conversations. But I learned not to internalize any negative behavior I experience so it wouldn't define me personally. I also learned to keep the office at the office by using my drive home to decompress and vent, instead of allowing that pressure impact my personal life once I got home.

I hope this helps!


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Kim’s Answer

That sounds like an interview question! They are trying to figure out how you think, your problem-solving skills, ability to act without direction (not having to ask the supervisor what to do), your resourcefulness, etc.

For example: I was assigned to plan an aircraft disaster exercise. I had never assisted in planning one before, nor had I ever attended one, now I was supposed to take the lead! Panic!!!!
First: make sure I understood what my manager wanted me to include in this exercise (a lunch for the participants, etc)
Second: talk to those who had planned the ones in the previous years!
Third: get organized: make lists, spreadsheets, etc. prioritize my work, based on timelines.
Fourth: get some help. Select people to assist, based on my knowledge of their skills, and recommendations of others (having the right people on a team is essential to success!)
Fifth: delegate, monitor, follow-up
check in occasionally with my manager, etc. etc.

Another example: I worked at the airport. At about 4:30 am, construction workers cut the power to half the terminal, knocking out the security alarm system. We needed to get the terminal opened up so the morning flights could take off, but could not allow people access to the fire escapes, due to the alarms not working. We (the police) did not have enough people to guard all the fire escapes. So, I asked the maintenance foreman if I could use his custodians to guard the doors. He said okay. All flights got out on time, with no breach of security. (I like this example because it shows that I get along with others - he did not have to lend me his crew!)

So basically, when answering these questions, take the STAR approach:
What was the SITUATION
What TASK did you need to accomplish
What ACTION did you take
What was the RESULT

I hope this helps!

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Andres’s Answer

Initially I had a fear of public speaking. I forced myself to volunteer for projects that gave me cause to publically speak. Initially I worked with peers and close friends, then worked my way up by volunteering for other projects. Eventually I facilitated huddles for senior leadership at my site.

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Jenise’s Answer

A difficult task that I am faced with regularly is telling the customer no.  However, even if the answer is no, if you explain to the customer the rationale for the decision in a way that they can understand, oftentimes the thoughtfulness and logic will be appreciated. 

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Jennifer’s Answer

Dear Quiana,

A recent difficult situation and choice that I made was to go back to school for a graduate certificate while working full time at a demanding job. I'll be honest, it is not easy, but it is worth it. I'd say the best way that I have handled this is by staying calm...taking breaks and meditating has helped tremendously. Also, not multi-tasking, but giving my 100% full attention to each task whether it be work related, school related, or personal. Be creative....for example, if I've had to hand in a paper, asking my boss for some flexibility during the day and catching up on work at night. Lastly, asking for help and not trying to make everything perfect - asking my husband to do the grocery shopping and make dinner once in a while. Not worrying if my house is clean, etc.

I hope that this is helpful - all the best of luck to you!

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Wendy’s Answer

With Customer Service, communication is key to success. Focus in on the core issues that the client is looking to get assistance with and follow through until the matter is resolved. If possible, track and trend for management the core issues (use analytics to understand what might be some of the main issues you are handling); I hope this is helpful. Good Luck!