Problem Solving

Problem Solving

  • Youlead|  
  • May 25, 2021

Does your team have a problem that requires a solution? Do you need to propose solutions? Problem solving is a daily occurrence in our working world and is not limited to one area. It requires us to be aware and on top of the situation.

What is problem solving?

Problem solving is the art of suggesting solutions for existing or new problems by using methods, information, and creative thinking.

How to solve problems and be a good problem solver

Communication, as in anything, is the key here. It is important for you to understand not only the problem, but the person with the problem. It is best to remove judgment and emotion from the situation and only listen to the problem and try to solve it. Try not to play the blame game. The person with the problem usually feels bad and does not need more guilt added to them. Be present with them and try to help them without making the situation worse. Kindness and empathy go a long way. Working together to solve the problem helps them also see that you are on their side.

In listening to the problem, it is also important to see where each person’s interests lie. Sometimes, they may not share that information with us but we should try to find that out. It might be fear or shame, but what drives that person in the situation? Identifying that will help you propose a solution that works for all.

Elements of problem solving

  • Active listening is essential in solving problems. If we are not able to listen with our fullest attention, we will quickly make mistakes in how we react to situations. We have our own assumptions and it is easy to get lost in them and in what we think we hear. What you have to do to avoid that pitfall is to listen to the person speaking without trying to formulate an answer. Really listen to what they are saying, their body language, and what they are not saying. Once they stop talking, you can think of what your answer is.
  • When you are thinking of an answer, it is best to restate in summary what was said. This helps you make better sense and allows the speaker to correct you if you have not understood something he said. Getting confirmation of what you heard and clarifying any points that you may not have understood will help both of you. Not doing this may lead to problems later because you are operating on the belief that you heard and understood everything but the speaker may have meant something else.
  • Once that has been done, think rationally and logically about what was said and what is required. Try to hold off on the emotions because they can make us react quickly in ways that we might regret later. Once you have a rational answer, speak it slowly and respectfully, so that the other person can see that you are truly trying to arrive at a solution rather than to assign blame or point fingers.
  • If possible, work together to solve the problem. Once you propose a solution, it might be helpful for you to work with the person to solve it. This shows the person that you sympathise with their plight and that you are committed to finding the solution.

Problems will always arise in any situation in life. While it is easy to get lost in our emotions and to play the blame game, neither will achieve what we want. We need to focus on our goals and find the best way to get there. Working as a team will help us achieve those goals faster than if we take sides and refuse to listen to the other side.

 

 

This content is the sole responsibility of its creators. Any opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government, European Union or Swiss agency for Development and Cooperation.

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