When employers talk about problem-solving skills, they often refer to the ability to deal with difficult or unexpected situations in the workplace and complex business challenges. Organizations rely on personalities who can evaluate both types of cases and confidently identify solutions. While employers value problem-solving skills, they are also beneficial in other life fields, such as relationship building and day-to-day decision-making.
What are problem-solving skills?
Problem-solving skills help you identify the source of a problem and find an adequate solution. Although problem-solving is often described as a unique skill, other related skills contribute to it.
Some necessary problem-solving skills include:
- Active listening
- Team building
Problem-solving skills are essential in every career and at every level. As a result, significant problem solving may also require technical skills related to industry or work. For example, a registered nurse will need active listening and communication skills when interacting with patients and need significant disease and medication-related technical knowledge. In many cases, a nurse should know when to consult a physician about a patient’s medical needs as part of the solution.
The four stages of problem-solving
You can use many different approaches to problem-solving. Still, you will usually work in four separate steps regardless of which way you take. Understanding each step of the process will strengthen your problem-solving skills and drive to a more productive and functional solution.
- Identify the problem
Identify the problem you are facing. Carefully observe the scope of the issues that arise, to develop a detailed understanding of challenges. Analyze the behaviour of others, workplace policies, and operating procedures. For example, “We need to improve sales processes” about the solution more than the problem. “Sales documentation is inconsistent” better defines the problem.
- Think of alternatives
Alternatively, thinking is one of the essential steps in problem-solving. It requires a precise balance between creativity and reality. Examine all possible alternatives, analyze your resources like budget, time, etc. for each approach and the results you expect from the different methods.
- Choose the best strategy.
Final decision-making skills are essential at this stage. Carefully consider all your options; you need to choose the best strategy for your problem and follow your decision. Usually, employees find it challenging to commit to a single plan, are not good problem solvers. They get stuck at this critical point in the process.
- Implementation of the solution
The application is the pinnacle of the problem-solving process. At this point, you formulate an action plan, share it with the right people, and follow the approach you have chosen.
Examples of problem-solving skills
To solve a problem effectively, you will probably use a few different skills. Here are some examples of tips you can use to solve a problem:
Research is a critical problem-solving skill. As a problem solver, you need to identify the root of the problem and fully understand it. You can start collecting more information about a problem by sharing ideas with other team members, discussing with more experienced colleagues, or gaining knowledge through online research.
The first step in solving a problem is to analyze the outcomes. Your analytical skills will help you understand issues and develop solutions effectively. You will also need analytical skills during the research to help distinguish between effective and ineffective solutions.
In the end, you will need to decide how to solve the problems that arise. At times, you may be able to make a decision immediately. Research and analytical skills can help those with less experience in their field. There may also be times when it takes time to develop a solution or pass the problem on to someone more proficient in solving it.
When identifying possible solutions, you need to know how to communicate the problem to others. You also need to know which communication methods are most appropriate when asking for help. Once you find a solution, communicating clearly will help reduce any complexity.
Reliability is one of the most considerable problem-solving skills as a timely resolution is essential. Employers value individuals who can be trusted to identify and implement solutions as quickly and efficiently.