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Problems are part of life and definitely occur at any workplace, so everybody can benefit from having good problem solving skills. How we tackle problems is the important factor. Do we view them as insurmountable obstacles or look at them as opportunities for growth and innovation and view them as challenges. Attitude is significant, because it dictates how problems are approached and determines whether you make it better or worse. It would be wonderful to have the ability to solve all problems efficiently and in a timely fashion without difficulty, unfortunately there is not one way in which all problems can be solved. Here are some of the attributes that can help with solving problems.


Communication skills are a vital component, as communication is an important key to finding solutions for problems and gaining necessary support from others. People who are able to address issues with openness can in many situations resolve problems swiftly. It is beneficial to develop listening skills, as many times the solution to a problem can be determined by listening attentively.


A significant attribute is the ability to adapt to the constantly changing circumstances of the business world. Sudden changes are bound to affect the environment of any workplace; and the faster the pace of the change, the more flexible and adaptable people need to be. When people can cope with change in a quick and decisive manner, it enables them to manage stress that comes from unexpected sources.


Being goal-oriented requires a certain degree of directness. People who are goal-oriented usually have a clear set of goals to accomplish, so they get down to solving problems as quickly as possible with the most direct solutions.


Analytical and critical thinking skills help to evaluate problems and to make necessary decisions. A logical and methodical approach is best in some circumstances and in other situations, using creativity or lateral thinking will be necessary to come up with ideas and solutions for resolving the problem and finding fresh approaches.


What is important to keep in mind is that one of the crucial characteristics of optimistic individuals is their active approach to solving problems. Therefore, keep an open mind about the problem and choose to see the glass as half full versus half empty. Later look at the problem as a learning opportunity by asking yourself “What would I do differently next time to avoid this problem occurring and what have I learnt from this experience?”


• STEP 1

Identify the Problem. Break it down into smaller steps and decide what you need to action first

• STEP 2

Brainstorm and write down as many ideas as you can that might help solve the problem, no matter how silly they seem – don’t dismiss any possible solutions.

• STEP 3

Consider the pros and cons of each possible solution, using a separate pieces of paper.

• STEP 4

Choose one of the possible solutions that looks likely to work, based on the advantages and disadvantages.

• STEP 5

Plan out step-by-step what you need to do to carry out this solution. With whom or what? What could cause problems? How can you get around those problems? Is this realistic and achievable?

• STEP 6

Do it! Carry out the plan.

• STEP 7

Review how it went. Was it helpful? Did you achieve what you set out to achieve? If not, how could you have done it differently? Did you achieve any progress, however small, towards your goal? What have you learned?

• STEP 8

If you didn’t fully achieve your goal – make adjustments to your chosen solution, or return to steps 3 and 4 and choose another possible solution.

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