The Importance of Problem-Solving Skills in the Workplace

Problem-Solving Skills In The Workplace

Is Problem Solving a Skill?

Most people don’t understand how problem-solving works. We often wonder- is problem solving a skill? Well, the answer is yes, and it starts by identifying an underlying issue- a team leader may need to improve a team member’s performance.

To do this, the team leader will review the employee’s work looking for areas that require improvement. The team leader might find out that the employee has an issue executing a specific task, such as reporting. To solve this problem, the team leader can work directly with this employee and take them through the reporting process until they understand and are able to do it alone.

This is an example of how an employee can use problem-solving skills to effectively curb a workplace problem. The team leader is valuable to the company for coming up with business problem-solving techniques when faced with workplace challenges

What Are Problem-Solving Skills?

Problem-solving skills will help you pinpoint problems in your workplace and effectively solve them in a timely fashion. It is among the most important skills employers are looking for in applicants today. Individuals with problem-solving skills are often self-reliant and will identify an underlying workplace issue and implement an effective solution.

Problem-solving is often considered a personal strength (soft skill) rather than a hard skill that can be acquired through training and education. You can sharpen your problem-solving skills by familiarizing yourself with common problems in your industry and learning from other more experienced employees in your company.

How to Improve Problem Solving Skills

Most people don’t think of themselves as problem solvers. But in reality, we are always solving problems in both our professional and personal lives. The better your problem solving skills are, the easier your life will be. You don’t have to be a genius to be a problem solver- all you need is some practice. Most people don’t know how to improve problem solving skills. Below are ways to enhance your problem solving skills?

1. Focus on the solution 

Researchers have proven that the brain can’t come up with a solution if it is focused on the problem. When you pay attention to the problem, you will be feeding negativity to your brain, which results in negative emotions in the brain.

These negative emotions block your potential to come up with an effective solution. Don’t ignore the problem, acknowledge that the problem has occurred, remain calm, and focus on how to solve it.

2. Clearly define the problem

Adapting ways to clearly define the problem you are facing will help you get to its root. Repeatedly ask yourself why the problem occurred to dig into its root cause. This is how you will formulate a solution to confront the root cause of the problem. Try asking yourself why a few times until you come up with a legitimate reason.

If you are always late to work, find out which part of your morning routine causes you to be late. It could be that you wake up late, or you take too much time feeding the dog. Tackle this problem from the root and set your alarm 30 minutes earlier.

3. Make things simpler

The human brain tends to make things more complicated than they should be. Simplify the problem by generalizing it. Take every detail apart and go back to the basics. Look for obvious and easy solutions- you might surprise yourself.

4. Brainstorm as many solutions as possible

Once faced with a problem, list down all the possible solutions- even those that seem ridiculous. It’s essential to keep an open mind to enhance creative thinking. This can trigger your brain to come up with other possible solutions. Do not ridicule yourself for coming up with solutions you may consider to be stupid. Crazy ideas often trigger the brain to come up with more viable solutions.

5. Change your way of thinking

Change your approach to the problem and look at things with new and fresh eyes. Flip your objective and look for a polar opposite solution. Even if you feel it’s silly, a unique and fresh approach to a problem often stimulates new solutions.

6. Use positive language

When thinking of the problem, use words that create a possibility of a solution. Phrases such as “imagine if…” and “what if…” often open our brains to possible solutions and creative thinking. Don’t use negative language during this process.

How to List Problem Solving Skills on Your Resume

No matter what industry you work in, employers always value employees with problem solving skills. It will set you apart from other candidates applying for the same job if you show off your problem-solving skills in your resume. By including them in your resume, you will be articulating the potential value you bring to the table.

These are skills you can list in your resume to showcase your problem-solving skills:

1. Analytical skills

Identifying the issues you are dealing with is the first step to solving any problem. This is key because if you don’t correctly identify the problem, it will be challenging to develop an effective solution.

After identifying the problem, you will need to analyze it. This involves using your analytical skills to understand why the problem occurred and determine the course of action you will take to solve the problem.

2. Evaluation skills

When formulating a solution to your problem, you will develop a few potential courses of action. This is because most problems we face do not have just one obvious and simple solution- there will always be a few different ways to address them.

Being a good problem solver means you can evaluate the weaknesses and strengths of using particular solutions to the problem. You have to evaluate if the solution you have in mind can be quickly implemented and effectively addressed in a timely manner.

3. Communication skills

Most problems faced at the workplace will require a lot of input from your colleagues. Being in a workplace environment means working as a team. If a problem arises, you will need to communicate with other team members and come up with a solution.

If there is a communication problem, most team members may not understand the problem, thus leading to confusion and making it difficult to formulate and implement a solution.

4. Decision-making

Formulating a plan on how to solve a problem you are facing can only take you so far. You will need to put your foot down and decide how the problem will be solved. You should use your evaluation skills to determine the best way to solve the problem.

You should be able to work with others seamlessly, and together, you can better understand the problem and come up with all the possible solutions to address it.

5. Creativity

Creativity is among the Examples of problem solving skills. Problems encountered at the workplace will require creative business problem solving techniques. Many problems faced at the workplace often have a limitation in which the solution must fall.

As a good problem solver, you will be able to think outside the box and arrive at the best possible solution. This involves exploring novel and new approaches and working with others to understand what has been tried before.

Creative thinking, decision making, evaluation, and analytical skills are all Examples of problem solving skills. However, before adding problem solving as a skill in your resume, you should understand if it is relevant to the job you are applying to. 

In fields such as accounting, finance, customer service, and programming all require a high degree of business problem solving techniques to handle everyday issues. You can list problem solving in your resume at the skills section. This is where you outline all your soft and technical skills in an orderly manner.

You can also list problem solving in the experience section. However, you should not precisely list “problem solving” as an experience; you should use the above five discussed skills.

Are you a problem solver?

If you are good at tearing down and analyzing a complicated problem, evaluating possible solutions, and implementing them, then you are a problem solver. Your problem-solving skills will be a valuable addition to your resume.

By listing the above discussed five skills, and you will demonstrate to potential employers your ability to effectively tackle problems that may come up in your job. These are among the skills that will make a potential employer want to have you on board.

While most people understand the values of problem-solving skills, they don’t know precisely how to improve their skills. By clearly defining the problem, focusing on the solution, using positive language, changing your way of thinking, and brainstorming possible solutions to the issue at hand, you can sharpen your problem-solving skills.