Top Ways You Can Improve Your Problem-Solving Skills

Top Ways You Can Improve Your Problem-Solving Skills
Top Ways You Can Improve Your Problem-Solving Skills. Image source: Pixabay

Problem-solving skills are usually expected in any learning or professional environment, meaning that any professional who possesses exceptional problem-solving skills will be a great asset for many businesses and workplace environments. No matter the job role or the industry in which you work, problem-solving is a skill that can be applied to situations across the board, which means learning to improve your problem-solving skills will never be time wasted. It’s a skill that can easily be applied to many career aspirations throughout your lifetime.

Not only that, but problem-solving skills extend beyond the benefits within a career, too. Problem-solving is a great all-round skill to have, meaning that it can easily translate to your personal life as well as your professional one. The everyday challenges you encounter outside of work may require critical thinking and strategizing, or you may wish to apply problem-solving to your career in a different way (such as finding a new job or instigating a career change).

Or your personal life may see you beginning your own study journey and earning qualifications, in which case problem-solving is going to be a key skill that can be applied to any degree. It may even be that you’re planning to study for a degree which specifically works to improve problem-solving and relate it to business, such as a business analytics masters online. Whether directly or indirectly related to your learning, problem-solving is an educational boon.

Therefore, learning more about problem-solving and what to do when faced with challenges can be a skill worth acquiring that will make both work and life easier to direct.

What is Problem-Solving, and Why is it Important?

Problem-solving is all about addressing issues and creating solutions. Those skilled in problem-solving will be able to correctly analyze a situation and take the right steps to develop an action plan to resolve the issue. This can apply to both a work role and a personal challenge. While personal challenges mean overcoming your own personal obstacles and building a better future or situation for yourself, problem-solving in business can completely overhaul a company for the better.

One key example of where problem-solving can make or break a career is within a business; exceptional problem-solving could be the difference between a business remaining stagnant and failing, or overcoming obstacles and succeeding. Many degrees and career roles outline the importance of problem-solving in a professional environment, such as a business analytics masters online or working within a business which is strategizing for the future.

Skills That Can Go Hand in Hand with Problem-Solving

In itself, problem-solving can utilize many other important skills to get the best out of a situation. Often, solutions to problems are formed through various skills that an individual might possess and apply to a situation, which can extend beyond only problem-solving. You might want to build the following skills, too, to ensure that your critical thinking is always at its best for problem-solving.

Teamwork

Being a good problem-solver doesn’t mean that you come up with an impressive plan all by yourself. Often, a team collaboration is needed to brainstorm and come up with the best solutions to put a plan into action. This means that you need to be able to work successfully within a team to communicate effectively when needed and create a strategy with other people.

That being said, sometimes you may find yourself in a situation where you need to solve a problem alone, but in some environments — such as a workplace environment — working as a team to solve a problem is encouraged.

Creativity

Coming up with solutions and formulating strategies requires a creative brain, to think about all the possible solutions and make them happen. Thinking outside the norm and coming up with new ways to rectify a problem may come naturally to creative thinkers, so you may want to practice your creative skills, too.

Logical Thinking

Problem-solving requires logic and a methodical approach, so learning how to think more logically can be directly applied to the process of formulating solutions.

Building your logical thinking skills can also go hand in hand with learning a new qualification. Most degrees will help you build discipline with study and logical thinking — and especially those qualifications directly related to problem-solving, like a business analytics masters online.

People Skills

Some problems (and solutions) have the potential to affect others on a broad scale, whether in your personal life or a professional environment. It’s important also to possess emotional skills and people skills when considering problem-solving, as you may need to take into account how other people will be affected by the solutions you come up with — especially in a large organization.

As mentioned, qualifications like a business analytics masters online best prepare you for problem-solving within a very high-demand environment where you may be dealing with a large team and large-scale problems.

Decision Making

It isn’t enough to combine all of the above skills and develop key solutions for challenging situations; you then have to see them through and be sure to implement the changes needed. Decision making is essential in problem-solving, as it means being assertive and putting the solution into action. Without the ability to make a decision, you may find yourself going round in circles with solutions to problems without actually implementing any clear steps for taking action.

Therefore, exploring a problem, creating solutions and putting them into action with a solid plan should be the goal.

3 General Ways You Can Improve Your Problem-Solving Skills

1. Choose the Right Qualifications

One of the best ways to improve your problem-solving skills is by directly learning the tools you need through a degree. The best qualifications will prepare you for dealing with various problems, data and solutions, such as an analytics or business degree, and you can always build on the skills you have learned by taking your education to the next level, such as with a business analytics masters online.

Furthermore, studying online for a qualification like a business analytics masters online can also help build necessary skills regarding problem-solving, as online learning allows you to think differently about your study schedule and have more discipline when it comes to your own working schedule. These personal skills and self-organization can help develop yourself to better handle challenges within your studies, work and life.

2. Choose a Career that Develops Your Problem-Solving Abilities

Similarly, the right qualification will ensure you can learn more about problem-solving, the right career will, too. You can learn a lot more by doing, which means any career which enables you to be put in a problem-solving situation most of the time will help you to develop these skills through practice.

The most obvious career that will direct problem-solving in terms of strategies and solutions may be a business environment, but problem-solving can be applied to various industries and roles. Like a business analytics masters online, even business-related degrees can be used in many different roles and industries, leaving your career options open.

3. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

Often, the best way to learn how you overcome challenges is to face them head-on. Challenges can only be met if you step out of your comfort zone and avoid doing what has always been a safe option. By putting yourself in a situation where you need to think differently and challenging yourself, you’re allowing your logical and emotional intelligence to develop and learning how to handle new situations in a more creative way. This can then be applied to a variety of circumstances, whether personal or professional. Stepping out of your comfort zone, may even be striving for a higher degree that challenges you, like a business analytics masters online, which can make you realize your full potential.

5 Key Steps for the Problem-Solving Process

While you can always learn the theory for problem-solving and develop all of your relevant skills to face challenges more confidently, when it comes to the actual problem-solving process in the moment, there are key steps you need to take to get the best results. If you’re unsure how to begin the problem-solving process, explore strategies, or which steps are key for directly fixing problems, here are five key steps you will need to explore.

1. Find and Identify the Problem

The first step in solving a problem is to understand what the problem is thoroughly. You need to identify the exact issue and make sure you have a sound grasp of it before you can begin exploring solutions. Time spent getting to grips with the problem as much as possible will not be time wasted.

2. Research is Key

Once you have identified the problem, research is going to be fundamental for working towards a solution. For those business-related problems, the facts and dependable research for root causes and case studies will help strategize a solution.

Knowing how to research a professional level is a skill which can also be picked up through learning and study, as with a degree, so if you’re a student who is used to dealing with research, facts and data — like with a business analytics masters online degree — then this step may come more naturally to you.

For problems in your personal life, you may wish to conduct research in a different way, such as seeking advice from others or using online resources to find discussions regarding the challenges you might be facing.

3. Use Your Research to Generate Solutions

Based on what you’ve discovered, you need to begin implementing proper solutions. This could be through creative thinking and discussions with a team, and it’s also a good idea to come up with more than one solution so that you have something to fall back on as an alternative solution.

In generating solutions, you should also work to develop a sound plan for ensuring that the same problem does not happen again. Therefore, it’s important to not think about the short-term fix with problem-solving, but the overall recovery plan.

4. Put Solutions into Action

Make the decision on which of the solutions you’ve come up with is the most viable.

Once you know how you would like to proceed with this solution, you need to make sure the right steps are taken to put your plan in action. In a business setting, this may need to be done as quickly as possible to prevent further damage and loss of earnings. Delegation is key when problem-solving within a team; if each individual has their own role within the solution, then it can be arranged more quickly.

5. Pay Attention to the Results

Problem-solving doesn’t end once you’ve come up with a solution and put it into action. There’s always the chance that it might not work as intended, or something could change during the solution process. It’s important to stay in the loop and be observant as the solution is carried out, as plans may need to be changed, or you may need to change the directive entirely.

Build Your Confidence with Problem-Solving

During the problem-solving process, remember to:

  • Remain calm when it comes to any problems. It’s easy to get frustrated or obsess over what went wrong and concentrate too much on the problem itself. What matters more is the solution you come up with and concentrating on ensuring the problem doesn’t happen again. Always look forward, not back.
  • Practice your skills as much as possible. To avoid being thrown into the deep end, or if you’re worried about progressing your career and being presented with problems you might need to solve, it’s a good idea to look for opportunities to build your confidence and skills. Qualifications which enable problem-solving and logical thinking, like a business analytics masters online, are great for this.
  • Try to be a good listener. Problem-solving may heavily rely on communication and team effort, and your participation and discussion capabilities will be crucial.

Improving Your Problem-Solving Skills: Summary

There are many ways to improve your problem-solving abilities, but the main takeaway is always looking for opportunities to build your skills. Studying and practice within your career will help to hone your skills and build your confidence. Having a clear head and being open-minded about solutions will help you to think more broadly. Taking your problem-solving skills to the top level with higher education, like a business analytics masters online qualification, can set you up for a variety of problem-solving careers, too.

Disclaimer: The views of authors published on South Africa Today are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of South Africa Today. By viewing, visiting, using, or interacting with SouthAfricaToday.net, you are agreeing to all the provisions of the Terms of Use Policy and the Privacy Policy.