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How To Improve Problem Solving Skills In The Workplace

How To Improve Problem Solving Skills In The Workplace

Do you want to know how to improve problem solving skills in the workplace?

If your answer is yes, then come along with us.

Problem solving skills are useful conducting business.

They provide people with the ability to solve issues and problems they encounter as they live and work daily.

These skills make the workplace more conducive, efficient, and productive.

So, if your lack these skills, or you do have them but are not effective, then you need to improve them.

In this, article we will be sharing vital information on how to improve your problem solving skills in the workplace.

We encourage you to carefully follow us to the end.

To begin, we will be looking at what problem solving is…

What is Problem Solving? – How to Improve Problem Solving Skills in The Workplace

Problem solving is the act or the process of effectively and efficiently finding suitable solutions to issues and problems.

Everybody at one point or the other in their life has attempted to do problem solving.

This is because in life problems or issues often surface.

However, not all of these people have effectively and efficiently done problem solving.

The reason behind this is mostly because they lack the necessary skills needed to solve problems.

Problem Solving Skills – How to Improve Problem Solving Skills in The Workplace

What are problem solving skills?

Problem solving skills are a set of soft skills that enables a person to effectively and efficiently find suitable solutions to issues and problems.

These skills include:

Analytical Skills

Analytical skills enable a person to see and understand a situation by carrying out research and analysing data.

In other words, it allows a person to analyze a situation and come up with a suitable solution.

Most often the solution that an analytical thinker comes up with is based on the facts and evidence they have gathered and analyzed.

The analytical skills used during problem solving processes include:

  • Critical thinking
  • Data analysis
  • Research
  • Forecasting
  • Troubleshooting

Open-mindedness – How to Improve Problem Solving Skills in The Workplace

Open-mindedness is the ability or quality to willingly welcome and accept new ideas, opinions, perceptive, and so on.

It is quite important for performing problem solving.

This is because this skill helps you to be open to considering things from various perceptive and consider the alternatives to situations when needed.

Being open-minded help you to come across more than one way of doing things.

The characteristic traits you will exhibit as an open-minded person are:

  • Curiosity
  • Awareness
  • Eagerness to acquire new knowledge
  • Acceptance

Creativity Thinking Skills

While open-mindedness makes a person willing to consider other ways of doing things, creative thinking is the ability to consider different perceptive.

These skills enable one to discover different progressive and innovative solutions to issues and problems.

They allow one to tap into their imagination, view the different angles of a situation, experiment on their ideas, and develop creative solutions.

The following are what helps you to think creatively:

  • Making connections
  • Networking
  • Asking questions
  • Making observations
  • Experimenting

Communication Skills – How to Improve Problem Solving Skills in The Workplace

Communication skills are the skills that allow one to effectively pass and receive information.

These skills are important for problem solving because you need to be capable of effectively communicating the issues and problems with people in your workplace

Also, when you find solutions to a problem, you need to effectively communicate the solution to people so that they can play their parts well.

This is especially true and needed when performing problem solving in the workplace with your team members.

Everybody needs to know the situation, where they stand, and what they should do for a solution to be effectively executed.

Effective communication skills needed to perform problem solving include:

  • Verbal communication
  • Active listening
  • Written communication
  • Respect
  • Giving and receiving feedback

Decision-making Skills

When doing problem solving you would be required to make decisions.

Oftentimes, the decision you need to make is to choose the best solution from the alternatives you have.

Effective decision-making skills will enable you to evaluate the cons and pros of each alternative, and discover the best one.

The essential decision-making skills needed to perform problem solving include:

  • Reasoning
  • Intuition
  • Organization
  • Creativity

Check here to discover how you can strengthen your managerial decision-making skills.

Collaboration – How to Improve Problem Solving Skills in The Workplace

Collaboration skills enable a person to effectively work with other people to achieve common goals.

These skills are needed for problem solving as they ensure that you get the help you need to solve a problem.

In the workplace, collaboration skills are highly sought after.

When you possess collaboration skills you will conduct yourself more like a professional.

This is because they ensure that open communication, and encourage problems to be addressed cooperatively.

They also ensure that collective goals are prioritized above personal goals.

The essential collaboration skills needed to perform problem solving are:

  • Conflict resolution
  • Sensitivity
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Respect
  • Curiosity

Importance of Problem Solving Skills in The Workplace – How to Improve Problem Solving Skills in The Workplace

Apart from being able to effectively solve problems that arise in the workplace, problem solving skills serve other importance in the workplace.

They are:

It Helps You to Manage Time Intelligently

Improvement in one’s ability to manage time is something that is often overlooked when it comes to problem-solving benefits.

However, people who possess effective problem-solving skills are also good time managers.

They know when and how to effectively make use of their time to perform tasks and solve problems.

In other words, when you possess effective problem solving skills it helps you to manage your time intelligently .

This is often good for business, as it makes you manage your time better and more focus on relevant factors of your business that ensures growth.

 It Improves Your Prioritizing, Planning, and Strategy Execution Abilities – How to Improve Problem Solving Skills in The Workplace

When you possess effective problem solving skills, you will find it easier to plan, prioritize, and execute your strategies.

In other words, you will be able to tackle issues and know how to effectively make plans, prioritize, and also execute strategies that will tackle them.

This often helps one to do better than their competitors.

It Makes You Capable of Working Under Pressure

Not everybody can handle working under pressure.

Some people break under pressure, while others thrive.

As much as it is not encouraged, working under pressure is an ability that is needed in the workplace.

This is because there will be times when project plans will change or deadlines will be accelerated.

When you can effectively accept changes that occur and still deliver your work, you will do well in your workplace and business.

Problem solving skills provide people with that thick skin to withstand pressure and not break.

It Promotes Creative Thinking – How to Improve Problem Solving Skills in The Workplace

Creative thinking skills are one of the skills needed to solve problems.

So, when you possess effective problem solving skills, you will become a better creative thinker.

As a result, you will be capable of thinking out of the box and coming up with great ideas and innovations that can make your business flourish.

It Makes You Capable of Addressing Risk

In business and the workplace, there will be problems that will occur in the long run that will be based on patterns, trends, current events, and experience.

Being able to anticipate and address the risks that will come from them helps you to plan for them.

Problem solving skills do not only provide one with the ability to solve problems or issues at a moment, but also enable one to anticipate future problems.

Factors that Can Impair Problem Solving Skills – How to Improve Problem Solving Skills in The Workplace

As amazing as problem solving skills are, some factors can still impair one’s problem solving skills.

These factors include:

Mental Set – How to Improve Problem Solving Skills in The Workplace

Mental set can be defined as the unconscious inclination to approach problems in a certain way.

In other words, it is when you unconsciously try to solve problems in a set way.

Your mental set is shaped by your habits and experience.

For instance, if you dealt with a problem employee by cutting their salary and they changed, you might unconsciously think of that approach for another problem employee.

This mental set stops you from thinking and considering other solutions that can work better.

Hence, you do not make use of your problem solving skills to solve a problem.

You only rely on what you did before and do not consider if it will work to solve the present issue or problem you are facing.

Functional Fixedness

This is also said to be a mental set.

However, with functional fixedness, one can be blinded to seeing the other potential use of something because their mind is fixed on the thing’s main purpose.

For instance, you have a can that you want to open.

However, the only equipment with you is a hammer.

You may not think or realize that the hammar’s two-pronged side can be used to puncture your can’s top because you only use hammar as a pounding instrument.

In this case, you have limited yourself from thinking outside of the box and coming up with an innovative idea.

So, we can say that functional fixedness can hinder you from effectively making use of your problem solving skills.

Irrelevant Information – How to Improve Problem Solving Skills in The Workplace

When performing problem solving you might encounter irrelevant information.

This information can seem to be a component of an issue or problem, but are unimportant or unrelated to the problem, and cannot help to solve it.

So, when you focus on such information, it will distract you from effectively making use of your problem solving skills.

You will end up generating solutions that will not solve the problem.

Tips on How to Improve Problem Solving Skills in The Workplace

We have discussed the different skills that makeup problem solving skills and the importance of problem solving skills in the workplace.

Also, we have looked at the factors that can impair problem solving skills.

Now, we will be looking at some tips that can help you to improve your problem solving skills in the workplace.

Some of these tips are things you do while performing problem solving.

The more you put them to practice, the better your problem solving skills become.

So, ensure that you practice them as often as you can:

1. Define The Problem

Your ability to understand problems is one factor that will point you towards solving them.

In other words, you need to understand why that problem is a problem to effectively solve it.

You might be tempted to go straight to finding a solution.

However, doing this will not help you to find an effective solution.

Also, your effort and time will be wasted on the wrong thing.

So, to avoid this, get to know what the problem is.

You can write out how you see or understand the problem.

This will help you to focus more on the issues surrounding that problem.

Then, gather information, and facts about that problem.

Ensure that they are relevant information.

When you make it a habit of defining problems by focusing on them and gathering information on them, you will discover better solutions to those problems.

Also, it will help to improve your analytical skills.

2. Ask Questions – How to Improve Problem Solving Skills in The Workplace

Asking questions about a problem helps you to probe deeper into that problem.

You get to discover the background or root cause of such a problem.

Also, asking question improve your creative thinking skills.

You get to discover things other than the traditional or the contemporary things you know.

So, make it a habit of asking questions about problems you encounter.

Some great questions you can ask include:

  • Where, when, and why did this problem happen?
  • Were there various factors that led to this problem?
  • How did this problem happen?
  • Am I missing any information?
  • What would have been done to prevent this problem?
  • Where can I get more information?

3. Watch How Other People Solve Problems

You can improve your skills by watching and learning from other people.

So, seek out those people who you know are good problem solvers.

Watch how they solve problems.

It will be better for you if these people are accessible to you.

This way, you will not have a hard time watching them solve problems.

As you observe these people, notice what they do and what they do not do, and find how you can better problem skills with that knowledge.

Whatever you learn from them, ensure that you put them to practice.

4. Read More – How to Improve Problem Solving Skills in The Workplace

There are different techniques for solving problems, and every day new techniques are developed.

Hence, to better your problem solving skills, you should make it a habit of reading more.

Reading often will expose you to different ideas and techniques to solve problems effectively.

So, find books, articles, and even listen to podcasts about problem solving skills and techniques.

Whatever you learn from those materials, ensure that you practice them.

5. Improve Your Research Skills

Your research skills have a great impact on your ability to solve problems.

This is because it is when you research that you will get to know more about problems.

Also, it will help you to generate workable solutions.

So, work to develop your research skills.

Some amazing things that you can do to improve them include:

  • Learn to stay organized
  • Start broad before diving into specifics
  • Learn to recognize quality sources
  • Verify your information from different sources
  • Welcome surprising answers
  • Learn to make use of library resources

In your workplace, you need to learn to verify all the information you get.

This will help you to avoid making decisions based on the wrong information.

6. Practice Problem Solving Often – How to Improve Problem Solving Skills in The Workplace

What better way to improve your problem solving skills than practicing problem solving often?

It is believed that the more you do something, the more proficient you will become at it.

This belief has been tested and proven true.

So, you can make it a habit of performing problem solving often.

You do not need to wait till a big problem arises; you can start with small problems that arise in the workplace.

When you often practice solving small problems in your workplace, your problem solving skills will improve.

This will make you capable of effectively solving the big problems in your workplace.

7. Play Mind Games

Playing mind games have a way of stimulating your cognitive activities.

It can also help to stimulate your problem solving skills.

You can play these games with your team member during break periods or during team building sessions.

Or, you can play them alone.

You can now play these games on your smartphone devices.

So, do not hesitate to play these games from time to time.

Some examples of mind games include:

  • Sudoku
  • Chess
  • Crosswords puzzles
  • Jigsaw puzzle

8. Learn to Work with Others – How to Improve Problem Solving Skills in The Workplace

Your ability to work with others in your workplace has an impact on your problem solving skills in the workplace.

This is because you will need the help of others to effectively execute solutions to problems and issues in the workplace.

So, if you cannot work with others, you will struggle to solve problems in the workplace.

Therefore, you need to learn to work with others.

Some ways you can learn to work with others are:

Conclusion on How to Improve Problem Solving Skills in The Workplace

Problem solving skills enable you to gauge problems, understand them, and then solve them.

These skills come in handy in the workplace, as they help you to handle arising problems and issues and still thrive.

So, if your problem solving skills are poor, you should work to improve them.

In this article, we have shared amazing tips and information on how to improve problem solving skills in the workplace.

We hope you will take advantage of them and become a better problem solver in your workplace.