Stepping into adulthood demands a dynamic change in an individual’s demeanor. Along with the qualifications relevant to the job profile you are applying to kickstart your career, a set of relevant soft skills is necessary to establish. You can only bring value to any place by evolving as a well-rounded entity, professionally and personally. Problem-solving skills prove to be an essential criterion to strive towards creating value for an organization.
Today’s dynamic industry scenario is replete with challenges. Every organization or company has its distinct set of challenges and issues. Hence, companies actively look for competent problem-solvers who can bring innovative and unique approaches to solving their business problems. In fact, as you grow in your career, you’ll have to face a host of different responsibilities and challenges that come with the role. Your goal should be to face any issues head-on. This is why professionals must upgrade their problem-solving skills.
In this guide, we’ll deep dive into what problem-solving skills are necessary for professionals and how you can enhance this in-demand soft skill.
Table of Contents
What are problem-solving skills?
Problem-solving skills include exactly what the name gives away – the skills to solve problems. Solving a2 + b2 might seem like a matter of seconds, but real-world equations take a lot more effort to tackle. Problem-solving in professional spaces requires comprehensive knowledge to understand the root cause of an issue and work on the same to rectify it within a stipulated time. From analytical skills to technical finesse, you need to have all cards on the deck. Though it sounds complicated and demanding, it’s not impossible. The first thing you need here is an attitude and mindset that anything can be solved if you put your mind and effort into it.
Why are problem-solving skills so important?
You cannot move ahead with a hurdle stuck in the middle of your path. In a workplace, these hurdles range from a conflict in your team, disagreement with colleagues, a client’s incessant interference, or unrealistic deadlines. When things aren’t as you’d want them to be or aren’t in sync with your beliefs, displaying outright disagreement can fuel conflicts that may further harm various aspects of your relationship with people. The only way to deal with such problems is with the help of problem-solving skills.
An individual who knows their way with people and circumstances can effectively be the peacemaker in these situations. Thus, acquiring the right problem-solving skills is a crucial gift if you want to climb the promotional ladder.
Simplifying the Process of Solving Problems
A user manual is necessary to understand the workings of a product and its best use. Similarly, understanding the process of solving problems can help to develop it as a skill. A step-by-step process simplifies breaking down each part to speculate it in detail.
1. Identify the problem
The first step towards problem-solving is to identify it. Root, cause, and consequence – these three things play a vital role in the identification process. The key to solving a problem is to get familiar with it. The situation might look grave from above, but inspecting it from all possible angles might unearth potential solutions and answers.
2. Learn about it
A clear understanding of a subject makes it easier to manage it. Now that you understand the problem at hand run a thorough research on it. Learn its intricacies to know whether it’s something you can control or if it demands a more advanced or collaborative approach. Do not hesitate to seek help from your team. A collective effort is better than a single struggling entity.
3. Seek solutions for it
Access to information has simplified this step drastically. A library’s worth of reference can be put to use while seeking solutions for any problem. Look through available resources to find if similar problems occurred before. Note down your preferred solution together with the proven methods that have worked wonders in the past. This will enable you and your team to find the most befitting answer to the issue.
4. Apply it
Take your time to script a strong plan to implement the decided solution. Going all out in a rush can lead to more harm than good. Make sure you understand the situation fully before acting upon it. The aim is to control the situation instead of it controlling you. Well-thought, deliberate actions have always produced better results than rash or impulsive decisions.
5. Learn from the experience
Now that you’ve been through the lengthy process of creating and finding solutions, it is time to see your plan in action and watch the results unfold. The complete procedure is a learning curve, irrespective of the results. The more challenges you take on, the wiser you become. Each experience will give you a unique perspective on approaching different problems, both in your personal and professional life.
Problem Solving Tools for the Win
For people who lack natural fluency in problem-solving skills, don’t worry! It’s never too late to start. Problem-solving tools are the key to unlock, understand and unravel the art of solving complicated situations. As any other art requires practice, so does this one.
Let’s head for the remarkable traits possessed by the best problem-solving geniuses.
A powerful problem-solving tool, analytical proficiency showcases your technical knowledge and explains how well you put the same to use. Formal and informal concerns are easy to curb under the guidance of a critical thinker. Segregating complex issues to solve separately to aim for the best conclusion is surely what a master problem-solver would go for!
Needless to say, a work environment is always under the threat of experiencing a host of conflicts, including emotional conflicts. Disagreements often lead to situations capable of causing emotional damage. Considering the well-being and interests of everyone included in a situation – be it clients and stakeholders, or employers, or employees – is necessary to deal with conflicts. Anyone with high emotional intelligence possesses the ability to initiate the reconciliation process amid any conflict.
Different perspectives, when combined, can welcome a variety of problem-solving techniques to the table. The presence of a creative mind is the only way to aim for such practices. Brainstorming creative methods to address a problem can be more fruitful than using conventional ways to get the desired results.
Solving problems is not a one-time affair. It often takes numerous chances to hit the bull’s eye. The possibility of your idea solving the issue at hand in the first attempt is pretty low – if it does, great! Hone your perseverance skills to employ different ideas and study the results closely. This particular problem-solving tool has the leverage to benefit other aspects of your professional life too.
Any workspace is empty without strong teamwork. Most of the time, solo efforts are not enough to take down even the most complicated issues. That’s where your workforce joining hands can help conquer the obstacle. Encourage yourself to work and maintain coordination among a group of people. Share and be considerate of others’ ideas and perspectives. Be open to listening to new approaches and visions of your colleagues or subordinates.
Get your hands full of experience.
Experience is the greatest teacher among all, but it takes time to gain that. So while you gain experience in your workplace, you can boost your soft skills by enrolling in professional courses. upGrad is a platform that helps you get top-notch education while connecting with peers from across the globe. With a learner base of 85+ countries, upGrad serves thousands of learners every day, all around the world, with its live programs created under the guidance of global university partners. One of India’s top online education giants, upGrad always strives to deliver quality learning support and 360-degree career assistance.
Learners at upGrad are equipped with industry-specialized coursework and essential soft skills to become a part of the same industry later. An excellent opportunity for individuals looking to strengthen their experience towards working as professionals in the relevant sector. You can surf through the vast course catalog on the website.
upGrad alumni speak highly of their incredible experience confirming its reliability and invaluable guidance towards a successful career path. From business analytics to machine learning, a detailed curriculum composed of best-in-class content assures enriching education quality for all. Students, working professionals, or entrepreneurs, anyone can join upGrad courses due to their flexible nature.
Problem-solving is an essential life skill, and strengthening it is the best way to flourish personally and professionally. Troubling occurrences might seem intimidating from the surface, but leaning a bit more can offer great insights to mend things easily. Take baby steps but do explore your abilities and limits over time. Remember, learning is a lifelong process, constant and it’s never too late to start!
Check out upGrad’s professional courses to add value to your resume and gain industry-relevant skills.
How do problem-solving skills add value to my candidature?
A candidate's competency depends not solely on their qualifications but on how eager you are to fix challenging situations. Problem-solving skills are highly valued, so make sure to mention them in your resume.
What are the opportunities to improve my problem-solving skills?
Try to take inspiration from daily life. Think of a situation demanding your attention to solve and choose the most relevant method for solution. Go through case studies to understand the theoretical aspect or try to resolve conflicts for the practical ones.
How would the recruiters know my problem-solving ability?
Recruiters usually extend hypothetical situations to test your problem-solving abilities. These questions can range from any aspect of your life, so be prepared. So, keep your creative side of the brain ready!