Problem solvers have two things at their disposal – obstacle and solution. Combined, these can overcome all sorts of problems – and fast. If you could choose to have such a person on your team or not, what would it be?

All business people will say the same thing – I want someone who can overcome obstacles.

What is Problem Solving, Really?

Problem-solving is a soft skill of high value in the economy, the business world, as well as in social circles. People love those who can respond fast to unexpected situations. Employers hope that their newly hired talent will tackle the challenges the business faces because, after all, all companies face some problems.

Knowing this, you should be looking for team members who possess such skills. According to CareerBuilder, problem solving has four stages. If the person can follow through, they are an excellent addition to your team. These stages are:

·        Identifying the issue as soon as it occurs

·        Brainstorm solutions and alternatives by using logical thinking and creativity

·        Pick the most promising and smartest strategy

·        Put it into action i.e. implement the solution


Determining the skills of candidates

As you’re evaluating candidates’ skills and background, you should also focus on determining how developed their problem-solving skills are. Thankfully, this is now easier than ever with TestGorilla’s problem solving assessment. This simple, yet insightful test will show you how able the candidate is to define problems, analyze the information presented to them, and make informed correct decisions. It’s a great way to figure out whether or not the employee will respond well to complex situations.

Reasons why problem-solving skills are vital for your business

When at work, your employees will be assigned their tasks. Your business plan will anticipate some issues that may occur, but others will happen without notice – or sign. If your team is cognitively equipped to handle such situations, you are in an excellent position.

Problem solvers in the workplace can evaluate, decide, and act quickly when such situations happen. They are less afraid of the unknown, have more experience, and are generally better for your brand. Below, you’ll find the top traits that you’ll love in problem-solvers.

1.     Organizing time more efficiently

Time management goes hand-to-hand with problem-solving. Those who possess the latter must also possess the first to be able to tackle problems. This means that not only can they respond faster, but they have a habit of organizing their time intelligently.

Such employees will laser-focus on the key things for the business. This is essential if they are to make smart decisions and resolve problems.

2.     Prioritizing

To resolve problems, a person has to know what comes first. Amid obligations and issues, the employee must act on the thing that is more urgent to handle the pressing problems. This means that employees with problem-solving skills will be excellent in deciding the order of their work tasks.

3.     Planning and executing strategies

Such employees will have no issue in assessing the needs of your clients, customers, as well as their peers. They’ll create plans fast, set them into motion, and know exactly how to meet the needs and expectations. These people have excellent organizational skills since this is necessary to manage all the parts of the plans they execute.

4.     Thinking outside the box

This is pretty much the core of problem-solving skills. Those who can handle issues almost instantly are highly creative people. They can find opportunities in the hardest situations and for the biggest problems. They handle pressure very well. Instead of losing their focus because of issues, such employees will think outside the box, not be afraid to experiment and offer you solutions.

5.     Working well under pressure

Issues can arise at any point and, when it happens, many in your team will ‘lose their minds’.  They’ll panic, make more mistakes because of it, or simply back down waiting for someone to resolve things. Those with problem-solving personalities are entirely different. They are ready to act under pressure and can handle changes better than others. Such people won’t get stuck and unmotivated when you accelerate their deadline or change something in the project.

6.     Addressing risks

Planning takes the biggest part in problem-solving. Employees with good problem-solving skills are excellent critical thinkers, as well as highly attentive. They can evaluate situations fast and come up with ideas on how to resolve problems. Such people are also great to have by your side when anticipating issues that may occur. They use their creativity combined with knowledge of current events, experiences, trends, and patterns to identify future problems.

Ways to improve problem-solving skills in the workplace

When you’re searching for new talent, you’ll come across people with different qualities. Some will possess this skill, but lack some other things your business demands. Others will have everything you need but fail your test for problem-solving skills. What can you do?

There are ways to improve problem-solving within your company. As an employer, it is your job to encourage your team and offer them opportunities for personal development. Developing this skill is certainly a big part of it.

That being said, here are a few great methods for turning your team members into amazing problem solvers.

Evaluate their skill

Whether you do this while interviewing new people or meet with your current employees, it’s always a good idea to keep track of their problem-solving skills. Make it game-like to engage them in this and check their creative thoughts. Give the employee an imaginary problem to solve on the spot to see what they do – and how they react. If you notice that they fold under pressure, you must work on their skills – or look elsewhere.


Trust your team

Even the most creative person can lose motivation to resolve problems without the push from their employer. If you keep judging your team, put too much pressure on them, or simply show a lack of trust – they might not even want to tackle the issues. Out of fear that they’ll disappoint you, they’ll be dependent on your guidance and instructions, and not take any action to resolve issues on their own.

If you want your people to grow on a personal level, you need to stop micromanaging them. You should be their leader and keep track of their progress, but if they have to look over their shoulder all the time, they’ll soon become resentful.

Shower them with goals instead of instructions

This is very similar to the last tactic. As a great leader, you must empower your employees to take action. Not micromanaging them doesn’t mean that you should let them do what they want. Instead, tell them what your goals are. Explain these, give some guidelines, and even point out instructions. However, let them find their own path to resolving issues or fulfilling goals. The employee should know that they have some liberty to make things happen, as long as their actions benefit your goal.


Foster creativity in the workplace

There are plenty of ways to encourage creativity among your employees. Problem-solving is highly dependent on this, so it won’t hurt if you awaken the creativity in your team. This can be done both actively and passively – through events, games, free time, or by simply making the office more colorful and bringing life to it (such as plants).

Give them the resources they need

Some problems can only be solved if the person has the right tools at their disposal. Others are solved easier if your employees have something to use to simplify the process. Knowing this, make it your mission to provide your team with the things they need to act on their problem-solving skills.

Now and then, it’s good to ask your employees what they need in the workplace i.e. what they could have used when an issue occurred last. This should tell you what you need to invest in.

Encourage team communication

Even if all your team members are excellent problem solvers, most problems will require the work of a team. People are stronger when they work together, so you must encourage and promote communication among your team members.

Keep in mind that the best problem solvers and creative people will try and do things on their own. They are confident and know how to act under pressure. It is more important than ever to show these people that teamwork is essential for your company to succeed.

Final thoughts

Leading a team is not easy. You must keep track of your employees and figure out new ways to encourage and motivate them. To be more, you need to train and make them better for the progress of your brand.

Picking new employees is even harder. You need to pick from a group of people you know nothing about except for their application and what you learn during the interview. Thankfully, there are many ways to determine their skills and learn if they are a great fit.

More importantly, you need to keep working on their problem-solving skills for as long as they remain with your company.