How to be a problem solver

03 July 2019 by Rachel Whalley
Workplace Problem Solving

Why does common sense feel so difficult to come by nowadays? At Intelletec, we’re seeing an increasing demand from Clients for candidates who have initiative. They want someone who isn’t constantly seeking answers from others, who utilizes their knowledge to come up with solutions of their own when they encounter bumps in the road but can also expand on their networks and those around them to challenge their solutions.

It begs the question, what do we do when we are faced with a problem at work? Some people identify issues, some solve these issues, and some do both. When an issue rears it’s head, some will run around frantically in a panic whilst all other streams of work grind to a halt, and some prioritise, and calming look for a solution or seek guidance from those around them before raising the problem higher up.

But what does this look like in the workplace?

#1 Competence You don’t need to be perfect and able to do everything, you need to be able to ask for help when you need it. In doing so it shows that you are self aware of your own limitations, and approach your manager or a colleague when you feel you don’t have the necessary skills or experience to finish something you are working on.

#2 Cooperation You understand that work is a team sport, and that you need to be a team player in every sense of the word. Cooperating with your colleagues when you encounter a problem to find a solution not only shows strong leadership, but also encourages others in your team to do the same.

#3 Maturity You know when to admit you are wrong or the cause of a problem. The worst thing you can do is to make excuses or cover up your mistakes - it will frustrate your team, and your boss more so, when they find out. Basically it’s the ability to take responsibility for your actions, keeping your cool, explaining what’s happened and helping to find a solution.

#4 Initiative Yes we’ve come full circle, utilizing your initiative to further your career no matter how small. It is effectively doing the right thing without being told to do it, and going out of your way to make sure you are constantly learning, developing and growing.

Showing these behaviours together, will show you have your head screwed on and can demonstrate great problem solving skills.

Further reading

Forbes - What great problem solvers do differently

Youth Employment - What is initiative and why is it important?

Inc.com - The 4 second solution to creative problem solving