Lists of soft skills frequently focus on the big ones, like being a good communicator and team player. Too often, being a problem solver receives either little or no mention, despite how important this skill is for employees.
When you’re a problem solver, your employer knows they can rely on you to find answers. Instead of running to them with every issue, your critical thinking helps you work through what’s happening and only go when you have a solution.
But what if you need to improve your problem-solving skills? Start today with our four tips below.
Tip #1: Trust your skills
If you tend to go to others to solve problems, it could come down to your confidence. You don’t flex these brain muscles, so you don’t even try. When problems come up in every area of your life, not just on the job, start to trust yourself. Believe you can find the answer because trust us, you probably can.
Tip #2: Examine the problem thoroughly
After the problem presents itself, take time to look at it from every angle. This includes determining how it started, what drives it, and any other details that can provide information. If you don’t understand the problem, you can’t solve it.
Tip #3: Develop several solutions
In most cases, problems have multiple solutions. Take time to think about all the different ideas and outcomes for your ideas. It can be easy to stop when you have one in mind, but it may not be the most effective. By thinking through several options, you continue to work through the problem to make your way to the best solution.
Tip #4: Reflect on the process
You’ve done the critical thinking you need to examine and solve the problem. After you’ve selected your solution, look back on the results. Did it work like you thought it would? Was another solution the better option after all? This reflection will help you in the future as you solve other problems. The experience gained from each problem solved will help you improve along the way.
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