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Forums > Social Chat > Thinking for yourself?

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spritie
SILVER Member since Sep 2001

spritie

Pooh-Bah
Location: Galveston, TX, USA

Total posts: 2014
Posted:Is it possible to train someone to think for themselves? If so, how would you go about doing so?

Ive got a co-worker whom is having some difficulties at the moment. His job is to do image analysis for the entire university. Now, he can accomplish this just fine if he is given the exact steps to perform and if the input looks good and is correct. However, if the input is flawed in any manner he has problems. It is actually part of his job to tell if the input is flawed, but that is where he is having the trouble. He doesnt know how to examine it at all and always just assumes that what he was given is entirely correct and he just follows his nine steps.

We would like for him to be able to notice there might be some initial differences that he first has to fix, but can not seem to get him to do this. We have tried telling him what he should look out for and also ways to correct those problems but have had little success.

We have noticed that he can follow specific orders, but is unable to process the little steps if we dont outline specifically how he should go about completing them. What more can we do to get him to think about those steps on his own? They really arent complicated. I should also note that he is not scientifically trained and English is not his native language although he is fluent in it.

Thanks for any help as we are almost at our wits end with this person as to what to do.


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ben-ja-men
GOLD Member since Jun 2003

ben-ja-men

just lost .... evil init
Location: Adelaide, Australia

Total posts: 2474
Posted:i guess it depends on what sort of person u are, if u dont mind taking the time to help him cool, personally im of the opinion if someone cant do the job give it to someone who is able to. if u keen to teach him i guess ull have to sit down with him with some examples of all the different types of things that are wrong and explain to him why they are wrong then go through examples and get him to pick which are wrong and right, make sure that it is him that picks the wrong ones when he gets it wrong explain to him why its wrong then onto the next example

sounds like alot of work ahead of u, personally id find someone else


Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourself, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous and talented? Who are you NOT to be?

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spritie
SILVER Member since Sep 2001

spritie

Pooh-Bah
Location: Galveston, TX, USA

Total posts: 2014
Posted:Unfortuantely there is no one else to do his job which is why we are concerned here. The official boss refuses to fire him and thinks it is the manager of the groups job to "train" him properly. This manager isn't a very good manager and has no idea how to help which is why I've been trying to. Also, he has a very tedious and pain-in-the-butt type job that no one else really wants.

I've already given him several examples as you said and had him show me correct procedures for how to deal with those issues. He is getting better at recognizing some of them. However, whenever he is presented with a new concept he is at a loss and usually just ignores it and proceeds on his merry little way without so much as mentioning the problem to someone else even though we have stressed he should.


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Dunc
GOLD Member since Aug 2003

Dunc

playing the days away
Location: The Middle lands, United Kingd...

Total posts: 7263
Posted:It sounds like you have a lack of empowerement of your workforce if that is how he works and your manager/boss manages. Some people only seem to think they have a set course to do and that's it....but hey guess what...Life ain't like that!! If you can't (boss won't) sack him, make him work, empowerment doesn't work and he still continues like this then I guess you're stuck with him.



I know this might sound weird, but if you really have exhausted all the other routes you can think of have you tried telling him off? Have a go at him!! I find it gets results where no other method will and face it, it can't get any worse can it!!



Good luck...it sounds like you need it!!


Let's relight this forum ubblove

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frostypaw


Great balls of fire
Location: Tunbridge Wells, Kent

Total posts: 643
Posted:Not much you can do but tell him it'll cost him his job, and if he doesn't sort it out then find someone who will do it right. It is the job after all, there's no excuses.

There's only so much you can do to make people do what they don't want to do - and think's the hardest one of them all.


I can SEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

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mrFlibble
SILVER Member since Mar 2003

Ghostbuster
Location: York, UK

Total posts: 455
Posted:what sort of images is he analysing? and how is he analysing them? in what way can there be errors in them?


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Dentrassi
GOLD Member since Apr 2003

Dentrassi

ZORT!
Location: Brisbane, Australia

Total posts: 3044
Posted:it sound more like that he is the wrong sort of personality for the job. he would probably be suited to being something like an accountant, where you follow basic steps and work things out - generally not too much creativity nor lateral thinking is required [no offense to anyone].

although perhaps this job is not quite as black and white? withno definite answers? to deal with this job, from what you say, you need to be more flexible and open minded in your thinking.
if you could explain more about what the job is i could probably help more.

however training people to think for themselves when they are already adults takes years of mentorship.


"Here kitty kitty...." - Schroedinger.

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spritie
SILVER Member since Sep 2001

spritie

Pooh-Bah
Location: Galveston, TX, USA

Total posts: 2014
Posted:What type of images does he analyze? He is looking to identify spots on a 2D electrophoresis gel (protein gel). There is software which will automatically draw circles around these spots and match the same spots on multiple gels. However, the software is not always perfect and someone needs to go through and fix it's mistakes.

It is this person's job to check each analysis and look for spots that are much darker in some gels than in other gels. The software has lots of tools for helping out in that respect, but some thought is required to know when to use each tool and also for when to notice mistakes.

This person has been taught the process to follow for examining gels and that is not the problem. He can go through those 9 steps just fine if there aren't many flaws with the initial detection. However, if one gel isn't exactly like the others, the software has some problems as does my co-worker. We have tried to explain to him that he should question any abnormality he encounters, but he just ignores them.

We are trying to give him more to do around here because the tasks we are having to do are becoming more complex and there are no simple ones at the moment, but we have also learned that we can not trust him to do something more complex as it seems above him. We have tried breaking things down into small bits but even those which require some thought as to how to accomplish the goal are above him as well and frankly we are at our wits end. Our boss has said it is our responsibility to train this guy to think but we really can't figure out how you train someone to think through a scientific process.


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Doc Lightning
GOLD Member since May 2001

Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Total posts: 13920
Posted:I wonder if he doesn't have some sort of high-functioning autistic spectrum disorder, or something in that general flavor/genre.

-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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Dunc
GOLD Member since Aug 2003

Dunc

playing the days away
Location: The Middle lands, United Kingd...

Total posts: 7263
Posted:Lightning you stole my thunder!! I was just about to come here and sugest that after talking to my boss about his mildly autistic kid!!

So yeah........what lightning said.


Let's relight this forum ubblove

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spritie
SILVER Member since Sep 2001

spritie

Pooh-Bah
Location: Galveston, TX, USA

Total posts: 2014
Posted:If he is somewhat autistic is there something specific we could do to help him with the tasks he needs to do? Is there a website somewhere that might give helpful hints for dealing with someone with that disease in a work environment?

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