Problem solving is a crucial skill to have, no matter the field in which you work. Problems can – and will – arise in your everyday work life. These problems can be big or small and complex or simple, but regardless of what obstacle you’re facing, it’s important to be able to figure out an effective solution.
Problem solving can be defined as the ability to solve problems effectively and in a timely manner and is often referred to as a key skill that employers look for when evaluating performance.
Here are some basic steps to solving problems:
Offering solutions to problems that arise in the workplace is a great way to show you are part of the team and can think differently or ‘outside the box’.
Supervisors will love you when you come to them with a problem, as well as a proposed solution or 2 where you outline the pros and cons of each solution.
As an employee or manager, you don’t want to miss deadlines. Allocate your time to the tasks that take priority – it could be simple tasks that are needed to be completed as soon as possible, or time-consuming tasks that require your specific expertise.
If you manage your time well, your superiors will notice. As you progress in your career, take note of how long it takes you to complete specific tasks. If you notice that as time goes on, certain tasks are taking longer than usual, you need to evaluate what elements are taking longer and why.
A good tip when it comes to time management is to not only prioritize your tasks, but to also plan for upcoming days.
At the end of each day you should know what you will be working on the following day. This way, you don’t waste any time figuring out what you need to work on or what’s the most important task. You should also do this on a weekly basis. At the end of each week, take note of deadlines in which you need to meet the following week. By doing this, you can pick up where you left off the following week.
And don’t forget to allow for the unexpected. A day does not go by when some unexpected challenge occurs.
Also, if you think you may need to miss a deadline, be sure to speak with your supervisor well in advance. They can either re-prioritize with you, or at least they can manage team expectations about delivery.
Gratitude is defined as ‘the quality of being thankful; a strong feeling of appreciation to someone or something for what the person has done to help you’. This seems like a no-brainer, but it is often overlooked – especially in the workplace.
Be kind to your co-workers and make a habit of regularly thanking others for their help – big or small.
Being polite is also a great way to build relationships within your organization, diffuse arguments and keep your workplace civil and positive.
No matter the situation, you should remain positive. Consider this, who would you rather have on your team: 1. Debbie Downer – someone who is constantly complaining and blaming others, or 2. Positive Polly – someone who, no matter the circumstances, looks brightly into the future and keeps the team on track?
Be the Positive Polly – it will take you far in your career.
Listen to Others
Are you an active listener? Or do you simply wait for someone to finish before you speak? There is a big difference between the two and unfortunately, most people tend to do the later. When it comes to advancing your career, you need to listen actively, process the information, then deliver an appropriate response. Don’t overlook listening well to others – it will be noticed by your peers.