Ask any leader or manager what occupies the bulk of their professional time and the answer will be troubleshooting. Whether it is human resources, quality assurance needs, technology to be applied, networks and channel management or client interfacing, there is a need to unravel problematic knots at each level and constantly.  Problem solving skills are essential tools for good leaders which allow them to ensure optimum efficiency of resources and help them achieve goals better.

Life is complex which means nothing will run through a straight path forever. If you want to keep up with the flux and handle the dynamic shifts that run under the surface every minute then you need to hone up your ability to anticipate and manage problems at all levels. A successful business is a testament to a leader’s ability to do so and turn these problems into meaningful knowledgebase for future reference. There are some simple ways to enhance your problem solving skills, all you need to do is focus, learn and apply.

Effective problem solving skills:

#1 – Identifying the problem – The first step is to identifying the problem of course but it does not stop there. The key is to figure out the root cause or why it occurred in the first place. No problem occurs in isolation therefore all extraneous factors need to be taken into consideration so that an effective solution can be designed.

#2 – Evaluating and analyzing – The second step is to analyze the cause, identify the recurrence factor and evaluate the circumstances which led to the problem. Go deep into the problem and yank out its roots. That way you will have new problems to deal with instead of the same old which can seriously hamper progress with its recurrence.

#3 – Alternatives and solutions – Once the cause is determined it will be easy to work out a solution which will involve negating the recurrence as well as identifying alternative solutions for the problem. Focusing on the solution is one of the key problem solving skills and is an effective way to deal with any situation because the bigger picture makes it easy to negate pesky little hurdles.

#4 – Implementing solutions – It is now time to implement the solutions and allow the system to fall back in place seamlessly. You can take short steps to test whether it is working or not before implementing it completely. This also allows room for mistakes and maneuvers which, when taken care of, ensure long term results.

#5 – Adding to knowledgebase – It is important to look at every hurdle as a stepping stone and learn to overcome it. If you can learn and store in your knowledgebase it can become a case study for the whole team to function more efficiently. Look at a problem as a learning process and the learning curve will always be steep and growth healthier.

If you can apply these problem solving skills effectively, then tackling any problem head on is not an issue at all. You are using knowledge as your experience to take the right decisions and that is the right way to grow and lead.

Gary Takacs is the founder of The CEO University is a US-based, CEO and Executive Peer Group Organization that creates opportunities for accelerated business growth and personal development  through CEO Peer Group Meetings that are CEO-led, one-to-one mentoring focused on unique business and personal challenges, and purposeful  learning events.