Problem-solving skills are hugely important, in our business and our personal lives. How we approach and resolve problems provides revealing insights into our character, our priorities and our insecurities. What does your problem-solving style say about you? Check out these four examples and discover what your clients, colleagues, friends and family see.
Chances are you’ve had the misfortune of encountering this type before, known to attack first and check facts later. Whatever goes wrong has to be someone’s fault, meaning someone other than him/herself. Rather than addressing the problem straight away, this individual becomes defensive and wastes precious time accusing others of various sins and failings that “allowed” the problem to occur.
Playing an aggressive blame game is the weakest and most detrimental problem-solving style. Feelings get hurt and resentments breed as a result. Blamers are immature and irresponsible. They shift the onus to others and are unable to admit that perhaps they screwed up, or even acknowledge that the adverse event that gave rise to the problem was random and beyond anyone’s control.
These folks talk rather than act. They’ll call a meeting to discuss the problem. They will then schedule another meeting at which time a committee is selected, to further study the problem. Perhaps a report will be written, to document the problem and identify possible solutions. Over-analyzers may be thorough researchers, but they are procrastinators in disguise. They would like to solve the problem, but are incapable of taking action. They’ll check the facts, but moving forward and crafting a solution anytime soon is not in their DNA.
Polar opposites of the analysis paralysis team, the Quick Fixers are ready to right the wrong right away. Yet they take a slapdash approach and fail to think things through or do the research that would reveal the root cause of the problem and allow for the development of a credible solution. Part of the problem may be solved, but because a proper examination was not made, they (or you) may have to deal with it all over again. Any of us may resort to a quick fix when short of time, but for others half-baked “solutions” are a way of life. Maybe they have ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder)?
Listeners have the most highly developed problem-solving skills and it’s their style we ought to emulate. Listeners are willing to truly hear the details of the problem. They ask questions to elicit relevant information and they cut through the drama that problems often cause by remaining as calm as possible and keeping their wits about them, as they confirm what has transpired. Because they hear what must be heard, Listeners are then able to realistically assess the problem and get a sense of who can best resolve it, whether it is the Listener him/herself, or someone with specific expertise.
Listeners are able to analyze the problem because they do the research and think things through. They are able to act quickly to resolve a problem, but they will not be reckless or half-baked. Most of all, Listeners will not succumb to the trap of blaming, even if the problem was caused by someone’s negligence. Instead, the Listener will take steps to correct the oversight, learn from the mistake and move forward, wiser and better prepared.
Thanks for reading,