These Problem-Solving Skills Will Help Make You a Better Employee

If you want to succeed in a job – as in any aspect of life – the ability to problem solve is a must. And, showcasing your strong problem-solving skills during your job search is a real plus in the eye of potential employers.

Problem-Solving Skills Defined

Problem-solving skills are those traits that enable you to pinpoint and then address situations that need changing. It sounds simple, but it takes work. Experts have identified six steps to effective problem-solving and the skills you need for each of them.

  1. Identify and assess the situation. You can’t solve a problem if you don’t know exactly what it is. So, be sure you clearly understand the situation at hand, including its size and scope, cost, and impact on your company and on the role you play in the overall picture. The skills you need to hone at this point in the process include analysis, attention to detail, data collection, and forecasting.
  2. Get to the root cause. Find the true source of the problem, so you can develop the right plan of corrective action … not just any plan, but the right one! You might try the 5 Why’s or a fishbone diagram, aka a cause-and-effect analysis. Add these skills to your toolbox: brainstorming, creativity, critical thinking, deduction, and research.
  3. Brainstorm solutions. The amount of brainstorming you need to do will depend on the specific problem, as will the number of people you need to involve. More skills to master: communication, judgment, listening, meeting facilitation, patience, and teamwork.
  4. Evaluate those solutions and narrow them down to a shortlist. Dig into each option and evaluate its viability. List the pros and cons, talk it through with your team, and eliminate those that don’t seem realistic or likely to succeed. Additional skills: fact-checking and prioritization.
  5. Pick a winner. Once you’ve narrowed down your options, it’s decision-making time. You’ve done the work, and you should feel confident with your choice. Before it’s finalized, know who needs to make the final call: Is it just you, or do you have to run it by your boss or anyone else? Add persuasion, prediction, and public speaking to your growing skills list.
  6. It’s Go Time. Making a final decision about a solution and not acting on it is like lining up at the start of a race and then not moving when the starting gun sounds. But before you run with your plan, do one more quick reevaluation to ensure that your solution has truly addressed the problem, without causing any other negative consequences. Last but not least among your needed skills: adaptability, feedback, organization, project planning, and time management.

It’s Not as Daunting as It Sounds

Like all challenges, solving a problem can seem horrific at first. But if you break it down into smaller, more manageable pieces, the process becomes more natural and far less stress-inducing.

To learn more about problem-solving, and to sharpen all the skills you need to succeed in your job search and career, contact PrideStaff Modesto today. All those solutions are well within your reach; we’ll help you tap into them with strategies designed just for you.