June 15, 2020


Problem-solving is a skill that is a part of almost all people’s work, whether the individual is a beginner or expert at work. A project manager may solve issues for their customers and team members, while individual contributors may solve issues for customers, or for themselves or their coworkers. Hence, it’s necessary for each employee to understand the problem-solving procedures and develop problem-solving skills. If you’re looking for career advancement to a managerial role, you must gain mastery over this problem-solving process and its procedures.

What is problem-solving?

Problem-solving is the procedure of understanding a challenge and working toward finding an efficient solution to it. Depending upon the type and complexity of the issue, it can include the use of mathematical operations and may test your crucial-thinking skills. When prospective employers are talking to you about problem-solving, they’re trying to gauge your capability and skills to deal with tough situations and complicated business issues. Almost all employers value problem-solving skills and seek to have workers with these traits to help the decision-making process in the day-to-day functioning of the company. For senior managerial positions and leadership roles, problem-solving skills are most essential.

You can list these skills to showcase your problem-solving ability:
• Analytical skills – ability to identify relationships between issues
• Evaluation skills – ability to make an assessment to get an opinion
• Communication skills – ability to articulate information properly
• Decision-making – ability to use the information and make a judgment
• Creativity – ability to apply different solutions appropriately

Why Problem-Solving?

Problem-solving is a success for any business. As a result, the steps in the problem-solving procedure are tailored to use plans that contribute to the effectiveness of affecting change. Additionally, problem-solving directly increases the competitiveness and productivity of the company. Despite popular belief, problem-solving doesn’t concentrate solely on conflict resolution in a situation that’s dynamic and responds to the advent of problems. Instead, problem-solving skills in workers can address future problems as they give employees a lifelong capability to engage in crucial and innovative thought. It’s this thought that makes it easier for your company to adapt to the changing requirements of your industry, thus placing you at the forefront in a positive light. Additionally, if your business deals with a demand for efficient decision-making and problems that need to be addressed rapidly, a problem-solving program is the best investment to explore. Customers rely on the service your company offers to be of a high order, and this can’t be achieved without problem-solving skills in your employees. Practical issue solving offers your company with fundamental stability that supports profitability and greatness. This lets your organization achieve incremental advancements that may produce extraordinary business developments. The problem-solving procedure plays an important role in the everyday life of organizations. A company that develops and refines these skills in their workers, through training, invests in the sustainability and the versatility of their company. It provides the business the overall stability that sees its workers efficiently solving issues and, with time, lets them the ease to deal with those problems that have greater complexity, thus evenly distributing labor or workload within the environment.

Importance of problem-solving skills

Of course, each organization has problems and each individual has problems too. For this reason, the capability to solve issues is of immense importance to individuals and organizations. Some of the benefits include:
• Make the impossible possible. Knowledge alone isn’t important to solving issues but rather, complementing it with systematic problem-solving approaches makes the difference. This aids individuals and organizations overcome some perilous challenges if they occur.
• Makes you stand out. People are trained to do the typical. They have skills in what they do every day. However, people can hardly solve issues when they’re unexpected and unprecedented ones. If you become a regular issue solver at your workplace, you’re easily noticed, appreciated, recognized.
• Increased confidence. No matter where you work or what your profession is, having the capability to solve problems will boost your confidence level. Because you’re sure of your capability to solve problems, you do not spend time worrying about what you’ll do if a problem needs to arise.

How to improve upon problem-solving skills?

Like other skills, problem-solving can be learned or improved. Below tips can help you improve this skill.

1. Detach yourself from the issue. Do not regard yourself as the problem itself and do not presume you’re incapacitated to solve the issue. See a problem you face as the enemy that you should defeat.

2. Analyze this not as a whole but in parts. Do not see the issue as a whole big unit that should be fixed which, may deter you from trying to solve it. Instead, break into different parts and handle them step by step, and portion by portion. The small pieces you solve will add up to become the solution for the whole unit. For example – if there is turmoil in your organization, analyze the many aspects or departments of the organization. Select one problematic area, like communication, to begin from. When that’s fixed, you may move on to the other problematic places.

3. Be inquisitive and investigative. Being inquisitive and conducting thorough investigation and research helps you recognize what the core of the issue is. We can also say that it gives you access to the cause of the problem. Once the actual cause of the problem is known, it becomes easy to solve it.

4. Be open to suggestions. Contributions of other people can be helpful. It saves you the time of having to search for every piece of information that’s required. However, remain selective and look for the most promising option.

Problem Solving Skill at Workplace

Problems are encountered on an everyday basis in the life of everyone. A few problems may be small while some may be tough and complicated. A person’s capability to face these issues and find an efficient solution to these problem-solving skills also improves their interpersonal skills for great teamwork. Likewise, at the workplace, we encounter many problems in our daily work. The basic needs for any employee are that he or she needs to be able to find an efficient and optimized solution to such issues. The skill isn’t limited to finding a solution, one must have the capability to identify the issue, analyze its effect on the business, prioritize it and come up with an optimum solution to resolve it. While we are used to resolving our everyday life issues, work-related issues need to be addressed differently. Different techniques and methodology need to be applied as well as the problems need to be identified and worked in a constructive way.
Problem-solving can be resolved in the following steps –
• Identification of Problem
• Analyzing the Problem
• Proposing Solutions
• Decision Making – make the choice
• Implementation of Solution
• Monitoring – making sure it works

How to develop and demonstrate your problem-solving skills?

Here are tips on how to develop the problem-solving skills that employers look for, and seek out opportunities to gain problem-solving instances. Dealing with the following situations will help you get some problem-solving skills:
• Sorting out a technical issue with your phone, computer, or device.
• Resolving a dispute with a tricky landlord to get your deposit back.
• Carrying out some DIY activities.
• Serving a demanding client or resolving a complaint.
• Finding a way around a funding shortfall to pay for travel or a gap year.
• Increasing the membership of a student society, if you are in the organizing committee.
There need to be opportunities for you to develop problem-solving skills. At the workplace there are numerous opportunities every day. A positive attitude is all that is required to build these skills. Such opportunities range from customer complaints to suppliers’ inability to deliver, to office equipment not functioning in the normal way, through to errors at work, and delay in completion of routine tasks.

What are the essential problem-solving skills employers look for?

Several employers seek candidates with the best problem-solving skills. Here are some essential components of problem-solving skills the employers would look for:

Listening: Active listening aids you gather valuable information for problem-solving. A better problem-solver can recognize that everyone is included, encourage them to participate, and actively listens to different opinions to understand the issue, its root causes, and workable solutions.

Analytical thinking: Analytical thinking aids you in research and understands a problem and its causes. The capability to establish a cause-and-effect relationship is important in anticipating the long-term impacts of a course of action. Those with strong analytical skills can assess the effectiveness of different solutions and select the great one.

Creativity: Problem-solving demands you to create a balance between creativity and logic. You need to use your creativity to discover the cause of the problem. It needs creativity to develop innovative solutions. Creative people bring perfect perspectives and give a new direction to the company.

Communication: Whether you’re seeking solutions to an existing issue or want others to follow a specific course, you need to be able to communicate efficiently. You may need to talk with others in person, over the phone, through text, or through email. You may need to correspond with various different people, involving team members, managers, customers. Efficient communication across a variety of channels enables you be a good problem solver. A good solution not communicated or accepted is a problem in itself.

Decision-making: You need to be able to decide what methods you need to use to research the issue, which solutions you need to use, and how you need to implement the solution. Almost every stage of problem-solving needs you to make a decision.

Teamwork: Problem-solving includes teamwork. You ask people about their perspective on the issue, include them in developing efficient solutions, seek their feedback on the selected solution, and rely on team members to implement the process. It’s important to include and motivate all members of the team for efficient problem-solving.

Building your problem-solving skills is a priority.

Don’t let the lack of problem-solving skills become a problem.

Wishing our readers good luck.

By Kenny Tay | July 2021

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