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Problem Solving

Problem solving involves identifying a problem, finding or proposing a solution, and then implementing this so the problem is resolved.

Workplace problems and issues affect individual and team morale, which in turn impacts work performance, so you need to resolve them quickly. Problems can also waste a lot of time and can multiply fast. Once people are dissatisfied about one area of work they can quickly become frustrated and see issues in other areas. This negative energy rarely goes away on its own and so a solution needs to be found. People problems can often be resolved quite quickly because a primary cause is lack of communication or understanding.

Getting Started

  • Take the time to discuss what the problem is with any affected employee/s. Don't jump to conclusions, listen to what people have to say.
  • Make sure the environment is appropriate. If the problem involves only one employee then the conversation should be private. For problems that affect the entire team, it may be appropriate to discuss them as a team.
  • Ask your employee/s if they can think of a solution. Decide if this is a reasonable and acceptable solution to you and communicate why or why not to your team.
  • Implement the solution. Where possible make sure team members are involved so they feel some ownership.
  • Review the situation. Has the problem gone away? Are there any other problems looming? Check that the team is happy with the outcome.

Remember to...

  • Deal with problems early and at a low level. Don't let little problems turn into big problems by not addressing them.
  • Communicate openly and honestly.
  • Provide quality feedback and coaching.
  • Encourage the team to find their own solutions where this is appropriate.

Remember!

It’s normal for teams to work through a conflict stage when they are getting to know each other.

Quote

I tell them they are better to step back, think about the problem and raise it in the meeting, rather than charging at it in a less calm environment.Bill Gribble