As a business owner, you need problem-solving skills to overcome operational challenges, budget problems and employee conflicts. Additionally, managers that you hire should also possess good problem-solving skills to lead their departments or work groups. Several common traits contribute to an effective problem solver's ability. Identifying these qualities helps you get the best leaders for your company.
The typical starting point to problem solving is a helpful attitude or an overall desire to resolve problems. As a company owner, you are usually the one most inclined to take the steps necessary to resolve major business problems. In leading employees, though, you and other managers also need a helpful attitude to assist workers in finding strategies and resolving their own conflicts or dilemmas.
Based on a desire to help, an effective problem solver is more apt to utilize good listening skills. Active listening includes focusing on the speaker to hear details of the situation so that you fully understand. Empathetic listening expands beyond active listening and includes a genuine desire to understand the specific concerns of a business partners, colleagues, employees or customers. Each problem has its own characteristics and affects each person involved differently. Your ability to listen puts you in the best position to comprehend fully the challenges.
Once you understand a problem, you must apply critical-thinking skills to analyze the evidence and statements of those affected. Your analysis puts you in the best position to make decisions with both short-term and long-term perspectives in mind. If two employees have a personal conflict, you might coach them with strategies, but then turn them loose to work through the process of coming to turns for themselves. While you could assert yourself and take immediate, corrective action, empowering employees to resolve conflicts strengthens their conflict resolution abilities.
Many business problems require communication and collaboration for resolution. For this reason, good problem solvers normally have excellent verbal communication abilities. They can explain key points in a resolution and the reasons behind their decisions. As a leader, you must also delegate roles and tasks to various departments or employees in implementing problem resolution steps. You might delegate a customer service resolution to a top customer service employee to carry out the necessary steps with an upset customer.