Regardless of your industry, addressing problems is a key part of any role. While technical expertise is essential in any position, complex problems require the right problem-solving skills. Like any kind of soft skill, problem-solving comes more naturally to some people than others, but it is also a skill that can be cultivated.
Developing certain problem-solving skills will equip you to face a diverse range of challenges, make you a valuable employee or business leader, and an attractive candidate to recruiters.
Read on to learn about the essential skills all professionals should cultivate, and how to improve problem-solving skills.
Key Problem-Solving Skills All Professionals Should Develop
Identifying and analysing the problem is an essential part of developing a suitable solution. You can’t develop a strong strategy until you fully understand the problem, its root causes, and its impact on the company.
Therefore, analytical abilities are an essential problem-solving skill that is vital for professionals, executives, and entrepreneurs across every industry.
Depending on your role and the problems you need to address, this could range from relatively-simple analytical skills to complex data analytics using the latest technologies.
Research is another vital part of addressing challenges, making this an essential problem-solving skill. This skill allows you to dig deeper into an issue, better understand its causes and complexities, and discover existing solutions.
Research skills could help you uncover how your competitors successfully dealt with a similar issue or, conversely, failed approaches they used that you should avoid.
It can also allow you to come up with strategies to avoid similar problems occurring in the future.
3. Decision-Making Skills
Decision-making and problem-solving go hand in hand. A big part of ultimately addressing any challenge is developing and implementing the best strategy to resolve the issue. To do this, you need to be able to make decisions.
Decision-making is itself a complex set of skills. Being decisive means being prepared to take risks, and not being afraid to fail.
However, making strong decisions also necessitates a balanced approach that appropriately manages all of the risks involved and ultimately supports the company’s overall goals and objectives.
Given this set of complexities, cultivating this skill can take a fair amount of time and effort.
Creativity is another critical problem-solving skill. Businesses are facing new and increasingly diverse challenges every day, and addressing them means coming up with new, innovative approaches. Therefore, thinking out of the box and coming up with creative solutions is essential.
While tried-and-tested methods have their merit, sometimes, the old ways of doing things simply don’t cut it, especially when faced with unprecedented challenges. Sometimes, the best solution is something that’s never been tried before. Therefore, developing the ability to think creatively and come up with new and innovative solutions is an essential part of problem-solving.
Communication is one of the most crucial soft skills that every company needs from their employees and executives. Furthermore, how well you communicate your ideas to your team, superiors, and stakeholders is an integral part of what makes you a skilled problem-solver.
It’s not just about communicating the problems, but also listening to feedback and potential solutions. Strong communication skills allow you to better understand the issue, develop more effective solutions, and ultimately convince decision-makers of their merit.
Finally, effective problem-solving means working closely with others. This may include not only your colleagues, but also stakeholders, clients, and even competitors, in order to identify and implement the best solution to any given problem.
This makes teamwork an essential problem-solving skill. Working with others is much more efficient, and allows you to draw on a range of ideas and capabilities to develop the best approach to deal with the problem. It also removes the burden of trying to find a solution alone.
How You Can Improve Your Problem-Solving Skills
Some people seem to be natural problem solvers, but in reality, this is a set of skills that can be developed and honed. Improving your problem-solving requires time, dedication, and regular practice — especially hands-on experience.
Practical, hands-on courses like EDHEC Online MSc in International Business Management or Business Strategy & Analytics are ideal for helping you develop the skills essential for problem-solving. Our courses teach you about the latest approaches to business challenges. You’ll also work with your peers to address these problems in a real-world setting.
By learning how to improve problem-solving skills, you’ll be able to perform better in your current role and develop the abilities you need to progress in your career or transition to a new industry.