Problem solving skills are one of the most important parts of your personality that you need to improve. Because you need problem solving skills in every corner of life. This is the fact of life. There won’t be one day you won’t be faced with at least one problem to solve.
You need problem solving skills in the workplace, home, streets, grocery store, etc. If you manage to develop problem solving skills, they will help you to solve issues and this will affect other aspects of your life.
Sounds great, right? I can feel your excitement to learn problem solving skills and improve them. So, what are problem solving skills? What is it in the first place? How to develop them? Where and how to use them?
Keep reading for the answers to all these questions and more!
What Are Problem Solving Skills?
Problem solving skills are a set of traits that are helping you to handle difficult situations and calmly identify solutions. In addition, these skills are helpful for decision making processes as well.
So, improving problem solving skills depends on improving some other skills:
- You need to improve your research skills in order to identify the issue and find a way to resolve it.
- You need to improve your analysis skills in order to see the real issue under the surface and find a real solution for it.
- You need to improve your communication skills in order to understand the problem from other points of view and explain the solution that you find to them.
- You need to improve your creativity skills in order to provide different solutions for a particular issue.
- You need to improve decision making skills in order to choose the best option between different solutions for an issue.
Although you can list different skills that you have to improve to develop problem solving skills, I believe if you can manage to improve the ones that I sorted above, you can find effective solutions to the problems that you are facing.
How To Develop Problem Solving Skills?
So we understood what problem solving skills are and what improvement we need to make in order to have it. Let’s dig deeper and find out how to develop problem solving skills.
Before I start, you need to understand that this is not a gift. Learning problem solving skills and turning to be a problem solver is possible. More, it is not rocket science. With enough practice for the steps that I shared below, and problem solving examples you can be the master of solutions.
Keep Things Simple
Instead of thinking about the problem in detail, give yourself some time to look from outside the circle. Don’t forget this, making things more complicated than they need to be is not working. When you focus on the problem you’ll have a tendency to find more problems.
By simplifying things you can focus on the solution, not the problem. Checking the basics about the issue will show you the road to find the possible solutions.
List All Possible Solutions
As a potential problem solver, you want to find the best solution for a specific issue, right? Okay then, here is the thing. First, you need to have a solutions list to find the best solution.
Because it is not certain that you’ll hit the target at the first shot. And trust me, no one wants to feel that she/he failed while trying to solve a complex problem. You should be prepared for every situation.
So it is better to evaluate all possible solutions after you list all of them and create different scenarios. When you come up with the one that fits the situation best according to your point of view, you can take your first shot more confidently by knowing there are other options if you miss this one.
And you know what, since you evaluated all possible solutions and put the best one at the first spot, most probably you won’t miss at the first shot.
Practice improves everything and nothing is different for problem solving skills. You can improve yourself as a problem solver by doing some real time practices. Try to put yourself into new challenges that require you to solve a problem.
For example, if you are a marketing manager, it is good to try to improve your management skills. Because this can help you to solve the problems your team is facing. You can practice this at home first by trying to find solutions to the problems that you are facing.
Another example, if you are an IT guy, it is good to try to improve your communication skills. This can help you to solve problems that you are facing with marketing guys. You can practice this online by creating some dummy scenarios.
When it comes to learning something, watching experienced people is one of my favorite methods. I don’t want to copy and paste their way of doing things. But I do want to find my way by observing their experiences.
I suggest you do the same to improve your problem solving skills. If you have someone around you who is skilled as a problem solver, watch that person. Try to understand how he is handling things. What are her techniques? Observe, understand, digest, and use all of this information for your own improvement.
Ask Why And Define The Problem
Usually, when we are faced with a complex problem we tend to only see it from the surface. Our lazy brains resist digging deep in the first place. As a result, we end up not fixing the problem and are stuck with the same issue.
If you want to develop problem solving skills you continuously need to ask a magical question that will help you to find the real problem: WHY?
By asking why questions you will change your perspective towards the issue and find a chance to analyze contributing factors. So ask the why questions until the time you find the real cause of an issue, which will help you to find the best solution and solve the problem forever.
Technical Knowledge Works
In some cases, there is no way out to be a good problem solver other than having good technical knowledge in your field.
For example, product marketing managers are bridges between marketing and IT teams. To make this bridge strong, it is essential to have good communication with IT guys for product marketing managers. This requires some technical knowledge. Because most of the time you need to talk the same language with programmers.
So if your industry requires some technical knowledge, go and get it to improve your problem solving skills.
This was a list of steps to improve problem solving skills and become a problem solver. You can apply all of them for different aspects. There are plenty of methods that you can use when it comes to solving problems. If you have tried one of them before, just share with us your experiences to support others in this adventure!