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Essential Problem-Solving Skills We all Need to Develop

Priya Johnson Jan 16, 2020
The ability to solve problems is instilled in each one of us, although some are better at it than others. Like any other skill, this skill set can also be improved upon with constant practice and time.

Own Your Work

When you realize there’s a problem, don’t wait for someone else to come and solve it. Taking responsibility and initiating problem-solving shows great signs of leadership.

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"When solving problems, dig at the roots instead of just hacking at the leaves." - Anthony J. D'Angelo

Untangle the Mess, Don’t Suppress

Sweeping the mess under the carpet isn’t the right way to go about the problem. Suppression will lead to an explosion in the long run. As cumbersome as it sounds, untangling is the best way forward.

Get Your Facts Straight

Don’t be hasty, instead listen and understand the problem well. Make sure you have all the information you need about the problem and people involved. This serves as the foundation for the solution.

Understand the Problem

Don’t just battle with the smoke or the symptoms of the issue, instead get to the root of it and then uproot. Analyse the problem, causative factors, people’s concerns, etc. related to it before taking a decision.

Shift Focus from Problem to Solution

Don’t fret about ‘why’ the problem occurred. Focus on the ‘what’ can solve the problem, rather than allowing the causative factors to frustrate you.

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The problem isn’t the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem – Captain Jack Sparrow.

Develop an Attitude to Learn

Obstacles force us to stop, re-examine, and redirect. View problems as opportunities to learn from and get stronger. Use them also as an opportunity to get to know and understand people better.

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“A positive attitude may not solve every problem, but it makes solving any problem a more pleasant experience.” - Grant Fairley

Every Problem has a Solution

It’s the mind’s natural response to panic and get overwhelmed in a stressful situation. It’s important to remember that it's never over. There's a light at the end of every tunnel, no matter how long the tunnel.

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“A lot of problems in the world would disappear if we talk to each other, instead of about each other.” - Helen Barry

Communicate

Most problems arise out of lack of communication or misinterpretation. Inadequate communication also makes matters worse. Encouraging open and honest dialogues proves cathartic in the long run.

Show You Care

Even if we’re dealing with strategies, data, and codes all day long, our work is directly and indirectly connected to people. Simple gestures of kindness and care go a long way.

Fair and Just Decision

After analyzing the situation, assessing all the contributing factors, make sure the decision you make at the end is just. Biased and unfair decisions will yield negative results in the long run.

Long-term Investment

Problem-solving is a daily activity that grows on you with time. The more you work your way through problems, the better you’ll get at it.

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“Life is a continuous exercise in creative problem solving.” — Michael J. Gelb