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why is problem solving important for leaders

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Why Problem-Solving Skills Are Essential for Leaders in Any Industry

Business man leading team in problem-solving exercise with white board

  • 17 Jan 2023

Any organization offering a product or service is in the business of solving problems.

Whether providing medical care to address health issues or quick convenience to those hungry for dinner, a business’s purpose is to satisfy customer needs .

In addition to solving customers’ problems, you’ll undoubtedly encounter challenges within your organization as it evolves to meet customer needs. You’re likely to experience growing pains in the form of missed targets, unattained goals, and team disagreements.

Yet, the ubiquity of problems doesn’t have to be discouraging; with the right frameworks and tools, you can build the skills to solve consumers' and your organization’s most challenging issues.

Here’s a primer on problem-solving in business, why it’s important, the skills you need, and how to build them.

Access your free e-book today.

What Is Problem-Solving in Business?

Problem-solving is the process of systematically removing barriers that prevent you or others from reaching goals.

Your business removes obstacles in customers’ lives through its products or services, just as you can remove obstacles that keep your team from achieving business goals.

Design Thinking

Design thinking , as described by Harvard Business School Dean Srikant Datar in the online course Design Thinking and Innovation , is a human-centered , solutions-based approach to problem-solving and innovation. Originally created for product design, design thinking’s use case has evolved . It’s now used to solve internal business problems, too.

The design thinking process has four stages :

4 Stages of Design Thinking

  • Clarify: Clarify a problem through research and feedback from those impacted.
  • Ideate: Armed with new insights, generate as many solutions as possible.
  • Develop: Combine and cull your ideas into a short list of viable, feasible, and desirable options before building prototypes (if making physical products) and creating a plan of action (if solving an intangible problem).
  • Implement: Execute the strongest idea, ensuring clear communication with all stakeholders about its potential value and deliberate reasoning.

Using this framework, you can generate innovative ideas that wouldn’t have surfaced otherwise.

Creative Problem-Solving

Another, less structured approach to challenges is creative problem-solving , which employs a series of exercises to explore open-ended solutions and develop new perspectives. This is especially useful when a problem’s root cause has yet to be defined.

You can use creative problem-solving tools in design thinking’s “ideate” stage, which include:

  • Brainstorming: Instruct everyone to develop as many ideas as possible in an allotted time frame without passing judgment.
  • Divergent thinking exercises: Rather than arriving at the same conclusion (convergent thinking), instruct everyone to come up with a unique idea for a given prompt (divergent thinking). This type of exercise helps avoid the tendency to agree with others’ ideas without considering alternatives.
  • Alternate worlds: Ask your team to consider how various personas would manage the problem. For instance, how would a pilot approach it? What about a young child? What about a seasoned engineer?

It can be tempting to fall back on how problems have been solved before, especially if they worked well. However, if you’re striving for innovation, relying on existing systems can stunt your company’s growth.

Related: How to Be a More Creative Problem-Solver at Work: 8 Tips

Why Is Problem-Solving Important for Leaders?

While obstacles’ specifics vary between industries, strong problem-solving skills are crucial for leaders in any field.

Whether building a new product or dealing with internal issues, you’re bound to come up against challenges. Having frameworks and tools at your disposal when they arise can turn issues into opportunities.

As a leader, it’s rarely your responsibility to solve a problem single-handedly, so it’s crucial to know how to empower employees to work together to find the best solution.

Your job is to guide them through each step of the framework and set the parameters and prompts within which they can be creative. Then, you can develop a list of ideas together, test the best ones, and implement the chosen solution.

Related: 5 Design Thinking Skills for Business Professionals

4 Problem-Solving Skills All Leaders Need

1. problem framing.

One key skill for any leader is framing problems in a way that makes sense for their organization. Problem framing is defined in Design Thinking and Innovation as determining the scope, context, and perspective of the problem you’re trying to solve.

“Before you begin to generate solutions for your problem, you must always think hard about how you’re going to frame that problem,” Datar says in the course.

For instance, imagine you work for a company that sells children’s sneakers, and sales have plummeted. When framing the problem, consider:

  • What is the children’s sneaker market like right now?
  • Should we improve the quality of our sneakers?
  • Should we assess all children’s footwear?
  • Is this a marketing issue for children’s sneakers specifically?
  • Is this a bigger issue that impacts how we should market or produce all footwear?

While there’s no one right way to frame a problem, how you do can impact the solutions you generate. It’s imperative to accurately frame problems to align with organizational priorities and ensure your team generates useful ideas for your firm.

To solve a problem, you need to empathize with those impacted by it. Empathy is the ability to understand others’ emotions and experiences. While many believe empathy is a fixed trait, it’s a skill you can strengthen through practice.

When confronted with a problem, consider whom it impacts. Returning to the children’s sneaker example, think of who’s affected:

  • Your organization’s employees, because sales are down
  • The customers who typically buy your sneakers
  • The children who typically wear your sneakers

Empathy is required to get to the problem’s root and consider each group’s perspective. Assuming someone’s perspective often isn’t accurate, so the best way to get that information is by collecting user feedback.

For instance, if you asked customers who typically buy your children’s sneakers why they’ve stopped, they could say, “A new brand of children’s sneakers came onto the market that have soles with more traction. I want my child to be as safe as possible, so I bought those instead.”

When someone shares their feelings and experiences, you have an opportunity to empathize with them. This can yield solutions to their problem that directly address its root and shows you care. In this case, you may design a new line of children’s sneakers with extremely grippy soles for added safety, knowing that’s what your customers care most about.

Related: 3 Effective Methods for Assessing Customer Needs

3. Breaking Cognitive Fixedness

Cognitive fixedness is a state of mind in which you examine situations through the lens of past experiences. This locks you into one mindset rather than allowing you to consider alternative possibilities.

For instance, your cognitive fixedness may make you think rubber is the only material for sneaker treads. What else could you use? Is there a grippier alternative you haven’t considered?

Problem-solving is all about overcoming cognitive fixedness. You not only need to foster this skill in yourself but among your team.

4. Creating a Psychologically Safe Environment

As a leader, it’s your job to create an environment conducive to problem-solving. In a psychologically safe environment, all team members feel comfortable bringing ideas to the table, which are likely influenced by their personal opinions and experiences.

If employees are penalized for “bad” ideas or chastised for questioning long-held procedures and systems, innovation has no place to take root.

By employing the design thinking framework and creative problem-solving exercises, you can foster a setting in which your team feels comfortable sharing ideas and new, innovative solutions can grow.

Design Thinking and Innovation | Uncover creative solutions to your business problems | Learn More

How to Build Problem-Solving Skills

The most obvious answer to how to build your problem-solving skills is perhaps the most intimidating: You must practice.

Again and again, you’ll encounter challenges, use creative problem-solving tools and design thinking frameworks, and assess results to learn what to do differently next time.

While most of your practice will occur within your organization, you can learn in a lower-stakes setting by taking an online course, such as Design Thinking and Innovation . Datar guides you through each tool and framework, presenting real-world business examples to help you envision how you would approach the same types of problems in your organization.

Are you interested in uncovering innovative solutions for your organization’s business problems? Explore Design Thinking and Innovation —one of our online entrepreneurship and innovation courses —to learn how to leverage proven frameworks and tools to solve challenges. Not sure which course is right for you? Download our free flowchart .

why is problem solving important for leaders

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why is problem solving important for leaders

Problem-solving in Leadership: How to Master the 5 Key Skills

The role of problem-solving in enhancing team morale, the right approach to problem-solving in leadership, developing problem-solving skills in leadership, leadership problem-solving examples.

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What’s the Role of Problem-solving in Leadership?

  • Getting to the root of the issue:  First, Sarah starts by looking at the numbers for the past few months. She identifies the products for which sales are falling. She then attempts to correlate it with the seasonal nature of consumption or if there is any other cause hiding behind the numbers. 
  • Identifying the sources of the problem:  In the next step, Sarah attempts to understand why sales are falling. Is it the entry of a new competitor in the next neighborhood, or have consumption preferences changed over time? She asks some of her present and past customers for feedback to get more ideas. 
  • Putting facts on the table:  Next up, Sarah talks to her sales team to understand their issues. They could be lacking training or facing heavy workloads, impacting their productivity. Together, they come up with a few ideas to improve sales. 
  • Selection and application:  Finally, Sarah and her team pick up a few ideas to work on after analyzing their costs and benefits. They ensure adequate resources, and Sarah provides support by guiding them wherever needed during the planning and execution stage. 
  • Identifying the root cause of the problem.
  • Brainstorming possible solutions.
  • Evaluating those solutions to select the best one.
  • Implementing it.

Problem-solving in leadership

  • Analytical thinking:   Analytical thinking skills refer to a leader’s abilities that help them analyze, study, and understand complex problems. It allows them to dive deeper into the issues impacting their teams and ensures that they can identify the causes accurately. 
  • Critical Thinking:  Critical thinking skills ensure leaders can think beyond the obvious. They enable leaders to question assumptions, break free from biases, and analyze situations and facts for accuracy. 
  • Creativity:  Problems are often not solved straightaway. Leaders need to think out of the box and traverse unconventional routes. Creativity lies at the center of this idea of thinking outside the box and creating pathways where none are apparent. 
  • Decision-making:  Cool, you have three ways to go. But where to head? That’s where decision-making comes into play – fine-tuning analysis and making the choices after weighing the pros and cons well. 
  • Effective Communication:  Last but not at the end lies effective communication that brings together multiple stakeholders to solve a problem. It is an essential skill to collaborate with all the parties in any issue. Leaders need communication skills to share their ideas and gain support for them.

How do Leaders Solve Problems?

Business turnaround, crisis management, team building.

discussing problem solving with merlin

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The Power of Leaders Who Focus on Solving Problems

  • Deborah Ancona
  • Hal Gregersen

why is problem solving important for leaders

Can you get people excited about the problems that excite you?

There’s a new kind of leadership taking hold in organizations. Strikingly, these new leaders don’t like to be called leaders, and none has any expectation that they will attract “followers”  personally  — by dint of their charisma, status in a hierarchy, or access to resources. Instead, their method is to get others excited about whatever problem they have identified as ripe for a novel solution. Having fallen in love with a problem, they step up to leadership — but only reluctantly and only as necessary to get it solved. Leadership becomes an intermittent activity as people with enthusiasm and expertise step up as needed, and readily step aside when, based on the needs of the project, another team member’s strengths are more central. Rather than being pure generalists, leaders pursue their own deep expertise, while gaining enough familiarity with other knowledge realms to make the necessary connections. They expect to be involved in a series of initiatives with contributors fluidly assembling and disassembling.

In front of a packed room of MIT students and alumni, Vivienne Ming is holding forth in a style all her own. “Embrace cyborgs,” she calls out, as she clicks to a slide that raises eyebrows even in this tech-smitten crowd. “ Really . Fifteen to 25 years from now, cognitive neuroprosthetics will fundamentally change the definition of what it means to be human.”

why is problem solving important for leaders

  • Deborah Ancona is the Seley Distinguished Professor of Management at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and the founder of the MIT Leadership Center.
  • Hal Gregersen is a Senior Lecturer in Leadership and Innovation at the MIT Sloan School of Management , a globally recognized expert in navigating rapid change, and a Thinkers50 ranked management thinker. He is the author of Questions Are the Answer: A Breakthrough Approach to Your Most Vexing Problems at Work and in Life and the coauthor of The Innovator’s DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators .

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Importance of problem solving skills in leadership – make a difference and be successful.

Great leaders in U.S. history showed how you can make a difference and be successful. They are exemplars of the importance of problem solving skills in leadership:

  • George Washington  led a ragtag army of colonial soldiers against the professional army of a world power. He overcame almost insurmountable problems as a military leader and as the first president of a new republic.
  • Abraham Lincoln  was the president of a country coming apart at the seams. His determined leadership and overcoming problems, during a time when others gave up, preserved our republic through an unprecedented crisis.
  • Franklin D. Ro osevelt assumed office during the nation’s Great Depression. His administration was focused on solutions with the goal of restoring hope and confidence during a time of hardship and economic crisis.
  • Martin Luther King  attacked the problems of racial discrimination and prejudice with fearless resolve and unparalleled leadership. His “I have a dream” speech is a classic call to solve lingering problems of unfulfilled promises of the American dream.

How Recruiters Identify the Best Potential Leadership and Problem Solvers

The career path to the C-suite is paved by organizations that increasingly seek solid leadership skills when adding talent to their workforce.

According to  Stephany Samuels , a senior vice president at an IT recruiting and staffing firm, “Companies thrive and grow when their workforce is comprised of leaders that instinctively explore creative solutions and bring out the best in their colleagues.”

What are the leadership traits and qualities recruiters should be looking for? According to this  CNBC article , problem-solving ranks in the top three. Employers want to recruit talented people, “who are quick on their feet and comfortable resolving conflicts with unique solutions.”

  • Critical Thinking vs Problem Solving: What’s the Difference?
  • Top 12 Soft Skills Consulting Firms Look For

Why Problem Solving Skills are a Vital Ingredient in Your Leadership Tool Bag

Duke Ellington  once observed that “A problem is a chance for you to do your best.” If you leverage your problem-solving skills, you can encourage the best performance from your team.

Effective leaders are high-level thinkers and students of human behavior. They find answers to difficult questions because their approach is rooted in strong problem-solving skills. Your own workplace problems can result from conflict, competition for resources, or poor communication. You can harness that energy with dynamic problem-solving skills.

By adapting  problem-led leadership  styles to your work culture, you can identify and proactively solve complex problems in the leadership challenges of your business. You can excite your team and bring unity in the organization. That unity and team spirit taps into everyone’s expertise to solve problems.

Types of leadership problems and their solutions

As a leader, you will face several types of problems. Some examples are problems that:

  • were never faced before: e.g., the recent pandemic and new challenges faced by remote workers—productivity, network security, etc.
  • require multiple solutions to sometimes conflicting goals: e.g., a need to cut costs without having to lay off any employees.
  • are complex: e.g., a solution involving a large number of known or unknown factors—stake holders who have conflicting agendas and questionable loyalty to the entire organization.
  • are dynamic: e.g., a problem with a non-negotiable deadline for solving it

Problem solving can be learned through techniques that involve:

  • looking at the elements of the problem and understanding the dynamics affecting the situation
  • understanding the causes behind the problem
  • knowing how to leverage your advantage as well as understanding what difficulties you are facing
  • evaluating the strengths of your team and their ability to help in solving the problem

Read More: Life Of A Leader: What A Leader Does Everyday To Be Successful

How Leaders Solve Problems

Albert Einstein once said this about problem solving: “We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.” You cannot expect problems to go away on their own. Problem solving requires creative and proactive solutions and skills.

You can hone problem-solving skills with the sharp edges of a positive outlook. That approach is the opposite of the energy-draining commitment to unproductive struggle, which reinforces inertia.

When blame and repercussions and saying “oh, no!” poison your team, the classic movie  Apollo 13  line  “Houston, we have a problem”  could be “Oh, no! Houston, we’re gonna die up here!”

In  Apollo 13,  the ground crew found solutions with only the material at hand. You can emulate that approach by saying “yes” to problems. Do that and you will employ, promote, and encourage an approach that focuses on strengths and opportunities. That approach includes:

1.  Identifying the problem : Spend extra time defining problems and avoiding premature, inadequate solutions. The  governing philosophy  here is “A problem well stated is half solved.”

2.  Evaluating the problem:  You can get to the root cause of a problem by:

  • looking for common patterns
  • asking questions—what? who? where? when? and how?
  • avoiding assigning blame and engaging in negativity
  • seeking knowledge of every aspect of the issue in order to move forward

3.  Backing up proposed solutions with data : By using data already accumulated over time, you can bring a persistent problem into perspective. Data analysis often connects the dots and leads to discoveries through common patterns.

4.  Practicing honest communication and transparency.  When you have a clear plan of action to resolve a problem, you can avoid the appearance of having a hidden agenda. The road to trust, respect and confidence from your team is through transparency. Transparency will keep the team invested and motivated in solving the problem.

5.  Breaking down silos : With transparent communication, you also promote an organization without boundaries and the hidden agendas of silos. Silos prolong and support hidden agendas and can be the major cause of most workplace problems—turf wars, fear of speaking out, etc. In sum, silos are team-wrecking mechanisms that make it difficult to solve problems through isolation and blocking communication.

6.  Making solutions actionable through testing : Following brainstorming sessions with those invested in the solution, you should encourage and assist the team to develop lists with logical actions, priorities, and timelines.

Your job as the leader is to assess the costs of those solutions in time and resources. Your next step is to communicate that information back to the team and do any tweaks and necessary adjustments.

7.  Learning from mistakes:  When mistakes and errors occur, you should incorporate the lessons learned as the foundation of further growth. Often, problem solving skills in leadership promote a culture of risk taking, where the results can be more than the sum of the risks.

You can practice positive problem-solving.

You know the value of saying “yes” to problems. That spills over into the value of acquiring positive problem-solving skills. That is where  you shift the focus to the solution  and away from the problem by:

Expecting the unexpected:  You can deal with unexpected situations or unforeseen complications by anticipating the “what-ifs” and adding the “just in case” scenarios. It could be as simple as remaining composed when faced with the unfamiliar and adopting an attitude of concerned detachment.

Accepting the unexpected : Stuff happens, despite your best plans. Feeling frustrated is natural. As a leader, you need to stay positive and focus on the solution. When a leader gets angry, the team runs for cover and takes shelter in keeping their own counsel.

Staying optimistic : When things go awry in your problem-solving task, you should stifle your negative thoughts and bite your tongue when it comes to expressing feelings around others. Avoid comments like “This should have never happened” or “Who’s at fault here?”

Look for a learning experience in the setback. When you do that, you are showing the positive mental attitude that is expected from problem-solving leaders.

Consulting others : It is likely that some colleague or counterpart has gone through similar experiences in solving a difficult problem. You should check with your team, consult experts, or take advantage of professional social media like LinkedIn.

Don’t be afraid to ask for advice and consider multiple solutions and points of view. You are going for a wider perspective, and that perspective can expand your options and lead to solutions you may have overlooked.

Be a critical and creative thinker : The power of the mind is a wonderful and untapped tool. In its critical mode, it recognizes dissonance, inconsistency, and illogical conclusions.

In its creative mode, your mind goes deeper into an amazing subconscious process that generates and inspires options or innovative solutions. Then the mind explores those solutions in its critical role. The secret is to work on  improving your critical thinking skills  and trust the process.

Planning for results : When you find the successful solution, work backwards to discover the best way to make it happen. A problem manifests itself through a history of bad outcomes, which can be articulated and quantified. Focus on the problem, and you can cure the symptoms.

Never Give Up

Some problems defy your best efforts to find solutions. What you might need is fresh eyes and new approaches from unexpected sources. Perhaps some adjustments and compromises are required.

Don’t give up. Always remember the importance of problem solving skills in leadership. Next to your title in the company roster is the implied leadership role of “problem solver.”

Related Articles:

  • 15 Leadership Examples In Business You Should Strive To Follow Suit
  • 10 Essential Tips On How To Become Powerful And Influential In Your Workplace
  • Essential Situational Leadership Books to Guide You to Greater Success
  • Challenge Yourself and Grow With the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership
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  • 10 Benefits Of Knowledge Sharing In Organizations All Managers Should Know
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Jenny Palmer

Founder of Eggcellentwork.com. With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.

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12 Examples Of Micromanagement At Work [with Infographic]  

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why is problem solving important for leaders

Why are problem solving skills essential for leadership?

Why are problem solving skills essential for leadership?

What exactly is it about senior executives that sets them apart from everybody else?

We're talking about the rare quality or qualities that elevate them above the rest of the workforce. Clearly there's a lot more to reaching the boardroom than studying hard, working long hours and waiting for the big promotion opportunity.

Nurturing leadership is not a simple process. The career pyramid gets very narrow towards the top, and as such, only the very brightest and best can reach the top of the pile. To become a chief executive or managing director you need to have leadership skills, vision and drive in abundance, but you also need that extra-special creative spark.

Very often, it is the problem solving skills, the ability to meet difficult challenges head on and make the right decisions under pressure that separates the wheat from the chaff. Nobody can see the future and envisage what is to come, in business or in life. But in many ways, senior executives are charged with doing just that, and this can be a most unenviable role.

It is their job to identify opportunities and risks, anticipate future trends and outline the strategic direction for their organisation. Should they succeed, they - and the people who work for them - will be both applauded and rewarded. But where business leaders choose the wrong course of action, and things don't turn out as planned, it will be seen as their responsibility - and their head ready for the chop.

Making the right decisions

When it comes to problem solving in the boardroom, business leaders should think in terms of goals and barriers. What are their short and long-term targets for the organisation, and what obstacles are likely to stand in the way of success? Senior executives require the vision and clarity of mind to identify these challenges, then select the course of action that delivers the most favourable outcome.

Usually, the overall aim in business is to maximise profits for the organisation, and as a consequence, shareholder returns. But in order to achieve this goal, it will be necessary to achieve a series of micro-targets. To raise profits, the company may need to improve service quality, boost productivity, enhance customer loyalty, engage in employee retention and identify new efficiencies to reduce costs.

There can be many different ways of achieving the same end result, and the job for senior executives is to identify the optimum approach in each scenario. They need to foresee where obstacles may stand in the way of success, and think creatively in order to remove them. Where this is not possible, they may need to devise entirely new ways of working around a problem.

Effective problem solving skills

Sometimes the ability senior executives have is to solve problems quickly - reaching the same conclusion other people would make, given all the relevant information, but in a fraction of the time. This can give their organisation the edge in business, as it can be more responsive and agile, and able to act while rival operators are still contemplating the best way forward.

While leadership styles may vary, top business leaders are able to quickly detect potential problems, carry out the necessary research and analysis, and then come to a decision. They must have great business instincts, and courage in their convictions. But they must also be pragmatic enough to realise they will not always have the answer, and there is a need to seek assistance in this process.

Senior executives need to call upon the expertise of everybody who works for their organisation, and sometimes even people from outside it. Individuals who have a specialism may be better-placed to judge the merits of a particular decision, and as such it makes sense to consult them. The managing director or CEO's job is to decide upon the final approach, and take responsibility for their decision, but they can build knowledge about the particular challenge before reaching this stage.

Similarly, senior executives may be able to harness technology solutions to improve the decision-making process. In the digital age, organisations are collecting and storing increasing volumes of data, which can be analysed to draw business insight and intelligence. It is up to decision makers to interpret this data and plan the appropriate course of action accordingly.

The decisions taken by senior business leaders are likely to have a bearing on all stakeholders within the organisation - including board members, employees, shareholders and customers. As such, there is great responsibility resting on their shoulders.

They need to use the resources available to them - including data and the expertise of other people - to shape their decisions, but sometimes their main asset will be their own skills, judgement and instincts. Over time, they will be assessed against the outcomes of their actions or inactions.

Future career prospects, and even the continued viability of businesses and organisations, may be reliant on the decisions made by company bosses. As such, there is no doubt that senior executive roles are highly pressurised.

It requires a little extra for professionals to succeed in such a role - so do you think you have what it takes?

why is problem solving important for leaders

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6 Problem Solving Skills That All Leaders Should Work On

  • Anouare Abdou
  • January 3, 2023

Table of Contents

Chances are, if you are a leader, you are also a pretty good problem-solver . You have come this far because you are proactive about finding solutions. You know how to think critically, strategize and execute. You foster collaboration in your team and make the most of the strengths of each team member. You lean on your communication skills to overcome challenges. 

If you want to take your ability to solve complex problems to the next level, however, you’ll need to actively work on the specific problem-solving skills that differentiate great leaders from excellent ones. 

“More than ever, leaders are facing highly complex, challenging situations that don’t have simple solutions. These include the intersection of employee mental health, diversity and equity expectations, supply chain issues, societal crises, and more,” according to Dr. Mira Brancu , award-winning leader, author, and consulting psychologist. “Employees and customers are expecting more from companies, and therefore the leaders that are needed today are those who have more than just technical expertise in their field – they also have the ability to solve complex problems.” 

On that note, here are six problem-solving skills that all leaders should work on these days. 

1. Calculating the critical path 

Every leader should know how to calculate the critical path in a project, according to Christina Wallace , senior lecturer of Entrepreneurial Management at Harvard Business School, angel investor, and author of “The Portfolio Life: How to Future-Proof Your Career, Avoid Burnout, and Build A Life Bigger Than Your Business Card .” 

Wondering what that even means? In project management, the critical path is the longest sequence of activities that must be completed to ensure a project is finished. Every project has a set of tasks and sub-tasks. Some of them can happen concurrently, while others need to happen in a certain sequence. Identifying all those activities and the dependencies between them allows you to calculate the critical path that leads to the project end date – in simple words, it lets you forecast how long it will take to wrap up your project while anticipating bottlenecks. 

“If you’ve ever been stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic while three lanes winnow down to one, you are familiar with the idea of a bottleneck and its frustrations. It’s the moment when too many things (cars, deadlines) are demanding the same resources at once (roadway, time on your calendar), creating congestion in the system,” says Wallace. Calculating the critical path helps prevent bottlenecks before they happen. Use a Gantt chart , a graphic that displays activities against time, to visualize the critical path of a project – most project-management platforms offer the option to create one. “Visualizing the bottlenecks gives you the opportunity to move things around, add in buffers or simplify processes to ensure your plan is not only feasible but also realistic,” adds Wallace 

2. Sensitivity analysis

If you manage a budget, you’ll also want to know how to run a sensitivity analysis – a technique that tests how robust your predictions are.

“If the economy suddenly hits a recession, will that affect the demand for your work or the pricing power you have over your rates? Are there expenses that could see a sizable change, like the cost of living significantly increasing in a fast-growing city? What about one-off costs that you don’t regularly budget for? According to Wallace, ” do you have a plan to mitigate them?” are questions to ask yourself about your financial planning. The idea of a sensitivity analysis is to consider the assumptions built into your financial model – say, assuming that your team is going to hit certain targets– and assess the likelihood of those assumptions being wrong. 

“A sensitivity analysis gives you the ability to consider multiple scenarios and understand how your financial plans may need to change if the future looks different than you anticipate,” says Wallace. No need to be a CFO to do this either – if you have a budget, you should unpack the assumptions involved in your plan. 

3. Critical thinking 

Speaking of assumptions, how often do you challenge your own biases and seek to look at problems in a variety of ways? It’s a crucial aspect of critical thinking – and critical thinking is a crucial aspect of solving problems. To flex your critical thinking muscles, you’ll want to look at issues from different perspectives. 

“Critical thinking involves seeing an issue from many angles, zooming out to the big picture and zooming into the details and back, and being able to imagine the impact of making different decisions on multiple stakeholders before making a final decision,” says Brancu. 

Practice this with every problem you solve and you may find yourself pleasantly surprised at the solutions that you come up with and the opportunities that open up as a result. 

4. Data gathering 

Data gathering is another important problem-solving skill to work on. Knowing how to gather both qualitative and quantitative data to solve problems is key, according to Brancu. 

“This involves taking the time to speak with critical stakeholders, and business data, and garnering other information to ensure that you are not missing anything important before making a decision. It helps you address your own blind spots,” she says. Gathering information about a challenge before making a move is not time wasted – it’s time gained down the line. 

5. Leveraging advisors 

Wallace says that leaders should build their own personal “board of directors” to solve problems more effectively. Leveraging your relationships in that way is an underrated but powerful problem-solving ability. 

Your advisors should include a collection of folks that you go to for advice, introductions, a fresh perspective, or some hard truth, says Wallace. “They bring their experience, judgment, and network to the table, providing counsel, access, and feedback. Rather than looking for one mentor who can be all things for an indefinite period of time, you can seek out directors who may do a rotation on your board for a few years, maybe more, maybe less.” 

To be clear, you don’t need to officially ask them to be part of your “board.” You simply have to make a point of connecting with them on a regular basis because you appreciate their experience and trust their advice. According to Wallace, you should seek to cover five key roles: a coach, a negotiator, a connector, a cheerleader, and a truth-teller. Turn to them when you’re unsure about how to move forward. 

6. Change-management skills 

Every leader should possess change-management skills when solving problems in this day and age. “Any decision that is made to address a problem needs to consider both the actual change that is required, as well as the people who would be affected. Most leaders overlook the impact and reactions of the people who are affected by any change, or they spend insufficient time considering how to involve different groups of people at different phases of a change process,” according to Brancu. 

“As a result, the problem might get worse because the leader didn’t get buy-in, didn’t communicate the concern or plan sufficiently or didn’t sufficiently address concerns raised,” she adds. 

If you become adept at change management, you’ll solve issues before they even happen. Talk about a useful problem-solving skill.

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why is problem solving important for leaders

why is problem solving important for leaders

The Importance Of Problem Solving In Leadership Roles

RSM Enterprises

RSM Enterprises

As a business owner, manager, or leader in any area you will face many problems as you grow. Your ability to solve problems effectively comes from experience facing being able to overcome obstacles. Each time you solve a problem you get a little better at the process and as a leader, you will never become good at problem-solving unless you keep on trying even when you fail.

Lets dive into 7 traits of effective leaders and how these can help you build stronger teams.

Anticipate Problems Effective team leaders anticipate problems, knowing that problems are inevitable. If you expect the road ahead to always be smooth, you will not be able to effectively solve the problems that come your way. Although it is important always to keep a positive attitude, planning for the worst will place you in a position to solve the problems that you encounter.

Accept the Situation There are many ways people choose to react to problems but the two most common are; refuse to accept the problem or accept the problem and simply put up with it. Effective leaders are those that accept the problem and try to make things better. Leaders cannot lead their team through adversary if they have their heads in the sand. To be an effective leader you have to hone up to the reality of a situation and react accordingly.

Leaders cannot lead their team through adversary if they have their heads in the sand

See the Big Picture It is crucial that a leader must always stay focused keep the big picture in mind. As a leader, you cannot afford to be overwhelmed by emotion nor get so tied down by details that you lose sight of what is important or your business goals.

Handle One Thing at a Time Tackle your problems one at a time. Don’t get overwhelmed by the volume of your problems and then go half-cocked into problem-solving. If you are facing a lot of problems, fully solve the one you are working on before moving to the next.

Do Not Give Up a Major Goal When They are Down Effective leaders make major decisions during a positive swing in their leadership and not during dark times. Never give up while you are going through the sand.

Always Be Looking for Problems to Solve If you are someone that usually avoids problems, its time to stop, turn around, and head the other direction. You only get better at problem-solving when you gain experience at dealing with problems. Find situations that need correction and learn to develop workable solutions. Take your problem to more experienced people and learn from their decisions how they think when handling difficult situations.

Develop a Problem Solving Mindset Some leaders struggle with solving problems simply because they do not know how to handle them. The following is a problem-solving process you can follow:

  • Establish the real problem
  • Find out what others have done
  • Have your team study all the angles
  • Brainstorm multiple possible solutions
  • Implement the best solution

Surround Yourself with Problem Solvers If you problem solving abilities are lacking, bring in others who are into your team to help. They will compliment your weakness and you will ultimately learn from them.

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How to improve your conceptual skills

Leadership roles often come with unique challenges, requiring the  right set of skills to manage teams and overcome obstacles that arise. The ability to think critically, solve problems, and make strategic decisions is essential. 

Conceptual and analytical skills help managers understand different perspectives, foresee potential issues, and develop innovative solutions that drive teams towards long-term organisational goals .

Whether you’re  aiming for a leadership role or looking to improve your skills in a current managerial position, mastering conceptual skills will equip you with the tools you need.

What are conceptual skills?

Analytical and conceptual skills examples, why are conceptual skills important for leadership roles .

Demonstrating conceptual skills in interviews 

Conceptual skills   are the skills used to visualise ideas and understand complex challenges. Instead of focusing on day-to-day operations, these skills help you look at the larger picture and include  critical thinking , strategic planning, and the ability to predict and manage potential challenges. 

Conceptual skills differ from other managerial skills.

Technical skills: specific, practical abilities for tasks like software coding, construction and engineering.

Human skills: focus on interpersonal communication and team collaboration.

Having a conceptual and analytical ability enables managers to consider all angles of a problem to make informed decisions that benefit the entire organisation. Conceptual skills help with understanding complicated situations, recognising patterns and coming up with strategic plans. For example, a manager uses conceptual skills to analyse market trends, assess the competition and then develop a long-term business strategy.

Analytical and conceptual skills can be used in a wide range of leadership scenarios. Here are some conceptual and analytical skills samples to highlight how they can be used.

Abstract thinking skills   

Abstract thinking is the ability to understand complex concepts and ideas. This helps you recognise patterns, draw connections between ideas, and imagine possible outcomes. For example:

Developing a new vertical product line for a business that reaches new consumers and markets

Creating a marketing strategy that looks at future trends and digital user behaviours

Identifying patterns in spending and being able to forecast consumer trends

Finding efficiencies in large, complex organisations to help them save money

Coming up with new designs and artistic techniques in the creative industries

Active listening skills   

Active listening involves fully concentrating, understanding, responding to and remembering what is being said in a conversation. These skills reduce the likelihood of misunderstandings. Examples include:

Paraphrasing what a colleague has said to confirm understanding

Asking clarifying questions during a team meeting

Providing feedback based on a client's concerns

Analytics skills   

Analytical skills are the ability to collect, analyse and interpret data to solve problems and make informed decisions. For example:

Conducting a financial analysis to determine the viability of a new project

Analysing market research data to identify trends and opportunities

Gathering relevant information from a range of sources before evaluating the credibility

Communication skills   

Communication skills are the ability to share information efficiently and accurately, whether through speaking or writing. Examples of  good communication skills include:

Presenting a project proposal to senior management

Writing clear and concise emails to team members

Leading a team meeting

Briefing your team comprehensively on a new project

Leaving clear instructions for someone

Creative thinking skills  

Creative thinking skills involve the ability to think in new and imaginative ways, to come up with innovative ideas and solutions. Ways you use your creative thinking skills in the workplace include:

Coming up with products names or taglines

Designing a user interface so that it’s both attractive and functional

Using storytelling to create a compelling message that influences consumer behaviour

Thinking up new ways to show appreciation for hard-working team members

Decision-making skills  

Decision-making involves evaluating information, considering possible outcomes, and making informed choices. Having these skills translates to better business outcomes, thanks to careful consideration that goes into the process. Examples include:

Selecting the most cost-effective vendor for a project

Making a hiring decision after evaluating applicants’ qualifications and fit

Choosing the best lesson plans to teach students a new topic

Leadership skills   

Leadership includes qualities such as vision, integrity, empathy and the ability to influence and inspire others. They help to motivate and lead people through projects or change at work. For example:

Setting a clear vision and strategic direction for the team

Motivating employees through recognition and support

Leading by example and fostering a positive work culture

Managerial skills   

Managerial skills include planning, organising and leading a team. They make look different depending on the organisation or industry you work in, but generally it includes: 

Developing and implementing a plan

Coordinating team efforts to meet objectives

Monitoring performance and  providing feedback

Making sure there are enough resources for employees to do their jobs

Problem-solving skills   

Problem-solving skills involve the ability to identify, analyse and resolve issues. It requires critical thinking, creativity and the ability to come up with solutions. For example:

Identifying the cause of a production delay and developing a plan to address it

Figuring out why a patient isn’t responding to a medication

Resolving customer complaints by finding solutions

Evaluating information and arguments before making reasoned conclusions 

Scheduling employees’ shifts

Why are conceptual skills important for leadership roles?    

Conceptual skills allow leaders to see the bigger picture to make informed decisions. Here are some examples of why they are important for leadership:

A company attempts to enter a new market without understanding the cultural landscape. The lack of conceptual skills leads to failed market entry and financial losses.

A managing director is unable to see future industry trends and adopt new technologies to keep up. This lack of conceptual skills results in the company falling behind competitors.

Conceptual skills complement technical and  interpersonal skills . While  technical skills are essential for understanding operations within an organisation, conceptual skills allow leaders to use this knowledge for planning. 

Communication, empathy and the ability to work with others are essential for leadership. Conceptual skills build on these human skills by enabling leaders to understand the  organisational culture and dynamics, fostering a positive and productive work environment.

Conceptual skills and their role in decision-making  

Conceptual skills are essential in the decision-making process. They enable leaders to look at the situation from different perspectives and make informed choices. 

Examples of this include: 

A company decides to expand into international markets after a thorough analysis of global trends, cultural differences and competition. Conceptual skills help in assessing the risks and potential benefits, leading to a successful expansion approach.

A company decides to invest in new technologies, such as artificial intelligence, based on its understanding of future industry trends and customer needs. This decision positions the company as a market leader in innovation.

Conceptual skills and their role in problem solving 

Conceptual skills are critical to problem solving. They help leaders identify issues and develop approaches to address them. 

Examples of problem solving using conceptual skills include: 

A healthcare organisation facing long patient wait times uses conceptual skills to improve its service. By using specialised health administration software, the organisation reduces wait times and improves patient satisfaction.

An automotive company addresses declining sales by using conceptual skills to develop an electric vehicle line. By anticipating future consumer preferences and environmental regulations, the company revives its sales and establishes itself as a leader in sustainable transportation.

Demonstrating conceptual skills in interviews  

Whether you’re looking to change industries or move into a leadership role, demonstrating your conceptual skills in interviews can help you leave a lasting impression. Here’s how to  prepare for interviews and answer questions that test your conceptual skills.

Preparation strategies  

Analyse the job description: carefully look through the job description to identify where conceptual skills are needed. Look for keywords and phrases such as  planning ,  problem solving ,  innovative thinking and  leadership . This will help you tailor your responses and examples to line up with the job’s expectations.

Research the company’s strategic direction: understanding the company’s mission and challenges will help you demonstrate how your conceptual skills can contribute to overcoming these and achieving the company’s goals.

Prepare examples:  prepare specific examples where your conceptual skills have made a significant impact. Remember to quantify that impact with data and results.

Answering interview questions effectively  

Once in the interview, you’ll likely be asked questions about your conceptual skills. By preparing beforehand, you can plan your answers so that they best demonstrate your abilities. Some examples of questions you might be asked include: 

Question:   Can you describe a time when you had to develop a plan for your team or organisation ?

Answer:  In my previous role, our company faced declining market share. I led a team to develop a plan to regain our competitive edge. We conducted market research, analysed industry trends, and identified key areas for innovation. By implementing new product features and expanding our digital marketing, we increased our market share by 15% within a year.

Question:   How do you approach solving complex problems in your current role? 

Answer:  When faced with complex problems, I start by gathering all relevant data and perspectives. For example, we were experiencing high employee turnover, so I analysed exit interviews, identified common themes, and implemented strategies, resulting in a 20% decrease in turnover.

Showcasing past experiences  

Another great way to show your conceptual thinking skills is by sharing specific past experiences where you used these skills successfully. You should describe the challenges you faced, your innovative approach and the outcome of the situation.

Use the  STAR method (situation, task, action, result) to structure your responses:

Situation:  describe the context or challenge you faced.

Task: explain your role and the goals you set.

Action:  detail the innovative actions you took.

Result:  share the positive outcomes and impacts of your actions.

You can also consider preparing a portfolio to showcase your conceptual skills. In it, you should include case studies, projects and business strategies you have contributed to. 

How to improve on your conceptual skills    

While conceptual skills are an important skill for those seeking or already in a leadership role, sometimes they don’t come naturally. However, with dedication and effort, there are plenty of ways you can improve your conceptual skills. Here are some tips to get you started. 

1. Develop a reading habit   

Reading industry news or opinion pieces can be a great way to improve your conceptual skills. It can expose you to new ideas, perspectives and ways of thinking. Try to set aside some time for reading and seek out books, articles and journals that challenge your thinking.  

2. Volunteer to be a team leader   

Volunteering to lead a team provides plenty of opportunities to test your conceptual skills. It exposes you to new challenges and perspectives that you may not encounter otherwise. Here are some techniques to try: 

Weekly strategy sessions: dedicate time each week to reflect on your team’s progress and think about improvements.

Project analysis: after completing a project, analyse what worked well and what could be improved.

Cross-department collaboration: engage with different departments to understand their challenges and how your team can support them.

3. Training and education  

Training and education is another great way to boost your conceptual skills. By investing in formal training, you can learn new techniques and approaches to conceptual thinking. Here are some resources to consider: 

Online courses:  platforms like Coursera provide courses on thinking, leadership and problem-solving.

University programs: enroll in MBA programs or education courses that focus on management and conceptual thinking.

Conceptual skills help leaders handle complex challenges, innovate new products and services, and drive long-term success. By understanding the big picture, integrating different perspectives and anticipating future trends, you can make informed decisions that benefit your organisation. It’s essential to continually develop and showcase your conceptual skills. Engage in  lifelong learning through reading, training and practical experiences.

What are examples of conceptual skills? 

Examples of conceptual skills include:


Innovative thinking 

These skills enable leaders to understand complex situations, foresee potential challenges and come up with approaches.

Conceptual skills are important for leadership roles because they enable leaders to make informed decisions, anticipate future challenges and develop visions. These skills ensure that leaders can guide their organisations to success.

How can I develop my conceptual skills? 

You can develop your conceptual skills by:

Reading regularly

Volunteering for leadership roles 

Undertaking training and further education

You can also improve your skills by leading team projects, seeking out a mentor and participating in panels and industry discussions.

How do I demonstrate conceptual skills in a resumé or cover letter? 

To demonstrate conceptual skills in a resumé or cover letter, highlight specific examples where you used planning, problem-solving or innovative thinking to achieve positive outcomes. Use the STAR method to provide more context and  detail to your achievements . 

In what ways can conceptual skills be tested during an interview? 

Conceptual skills can be tested during an interview through questions that require strategic thinking and problem solving. Questions such as  "Can you describe a time when you had to develop a strategic plan? " or  "How do you approach solving complex problems? " are designed to assess your conceptual skills. 

How do I balance showcasing conceptual and practical skills in an interview? 

To balance showcasing conceptual and practical skills in an interview, provide examples that demonstrate both your strategic thinking and hands-on abilities. Discuss situations where you analysed complex problems (conceptual skills) and implemented solutions (practical skills) to solve the problem. 

What are common mistakes when trying to demonstrate conceptual skills? 

Common mistakes when trying to demonstrate conceptual skills include being too vague, focusing only on theory and failing to provide concrete examples. Avoid these pitfalls by being specific, relevant and results-oriented.

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According to Management 3.0 Facilitator Ilija Popjanev , problem solving is essential for individuals and organizations as it enables us to control all aspects of our business environment. In this article, Ilija looks into problem-solving skills, how the problem-solving process works, and which tools help you to advance this skill set.

In this article you will learn about:

What is Problem Solving?

  • Problem-Solving in Six Easy Steps

Why is Problem-Solving so Important for Leaders, Teams, and Organizations?

Problem-solving techniques in the workplace, better employee experience by using problem-solving tools from management 3.0, how do employees develop problem-solving skills, what skills make a good problem solver.

In the last few years, we have been living 100% in the VUCA world, with so many unpredictable and complex threats and challenges. As a result, organizations must create a sense of urgency to redesign their present business models and to rebuild the foundations for the future of work. 

All companies now need effective problem-solving skills and tools at all levels, starting with individuals and teams, and finishing with their leaders and managers. This new reality enables growth and success only for those well-equipped and empowered by effective problem-solving skills and tools. 

One of the behaviors of Management 1.0 style is to constantly look for ways to stop “fighting fires,”. Instead, the Management 3.0 style seeks to “find the root cause” of the problem, and then to refocus, improve, and plan a different way for fulfilling workplace tasks.

Management 3.0 provides effective tools and principles for building the system for effective problem solving. It provides us with techniques we can use to understand what is happening in our world, to identify things we want to change, and then apply everything that needs to be done to achieve the desired outcome. We live by the motto: fail fast, recover quickly, and learn from the failures.

The agile way of working does not mean being perfect, but instead it allows for failures and sees them as opportunities to learn, grow, and adapt . Perfection is useless if we do not provide value fast for our customers. That is why problem solving is the foundation for continuous improvement, learning, and collaboration, which leads to innovations and success in ever-changing economies and the new normal that we now live in. 

The definition of problem solving according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is: “The process or act of finding a solution to a problem.” Similarly, the Oxford English Dictionary describes problem solving as: “The process of finding solutions to difficult or complex issues.”

For me, Problem-solving is a process of understanding and owning the problem, constant pursuit for solutions and improvements, and putting into action the best option for the desired outcome.

Understanding context and interacting with our teammates are the essence of effective problem-solving. We must clearly understand the complexity of our environment and the specifics of the context because things continuously change and evolve. Here, the Complexity Thinking Guidelines may help you to better understand what is happening and how to navigate complex environments more effectively.

We must have a lens through which to see problems as opportunities to improve, and regard our teams as sources of knowledge and experience. We have to connect people and opportunities in ways that can facilitate the best solutions for the problems that we are handling. Try using the Personal Maps , an excellent tool for bringing teams together and fostering diversity, respect, trust, and collaboration.

Today, all innovations and solved problems are team efforts because teams constantly improve their toolbox and competencies. Teams want to create something that was not there before, and which maximize their knowledge and resources.

To accomplish that, they need to build a process in a few easy steps:

  • Be present, observe what is happening in your world, and define the problem.
  • Review where you are now and what influences that state.
  • Constantly improve and change things by using creative tools and tactics.
  • Seek solutions and alternatives to make changes more effective.
  • Make team decisions about which tools and solutions should be used.
  • Implement improvements, monitor the process, and constantly adapt!

Problem-Solving in Six Easy Steps

At this stage, by following the Management 3.0 principle of “Improving the system,” you can use the tools Celebration Grids , combined with Yay! Questions , to best engage the team in the problem-solving process, while keeping track of what is working well, what can be changed, and what new options exist.

Documenting everything is an integral part of the problem-solving process. By using Celebration Grids, you are gamifying the process and keeping the team flow and energy on a higher level.

Also read: What type of problem-solver are you?

Problem-solving is crucial for everyone: individuals, teams, leaders, organizations, and ultimately for all stakeholders because it empowers us to better control the environment and everything that is going on in our world. Try using Delegation Poker so that teams can become more empowered to solve problems both alongside leaders and within their organization. 

Today, the speed of problem solving is important, and that is why organizations must give more power and authority on a team level , so employees can react quickly and even prevent problems. As a leading indicator, the Management 3.0 tool Problem Time can help you measure the time spent on uncompleted problem-solving tasks and activities; this is a valuable add-on to “lead and cycle time” lagging indicators, with which you measure the time taken on completed tasks.

Developing and refining problem-solving skills through constant practice and experimentation can refine the ability to solve problems and address issues with more complexities.

We may face various challenges in our daily work, and effective problem-solving can make a difference.

Make a Difference with Problem-Solving

  • Problem-solving skills are important if you want to add more value . As an agilist, your objective is not to be perfect but to maximize the value you provide for all stakeholders. Start fast, deliver value early, manage failures and prioritize tasks by setting the urgency criteria.
  • Problem-solving skills are important if you need to improve your results. You have to accept the complexity of success factors and better understand the need for changes and improvements in a continually uncertain environment. Results depend on your problem-solving skills!
  • Problem-solving skills are important if you have to fix things that do not work. When your processes are not working as planned, problem solving will give you the structure and mechanisms to identify issues, figure out why things are broken, and take actions to fix them.
  • Problem-solving skills are important when you have to address a risk. Sharpen your problem-solving skills to anticipate future events better and increase the awareness of cause-and-effect relationships. This enables you to take the right actions and influence the outcomes if issues do occur.
  • Problem-solving skills are important if you work simultaneously on several projects. You should apply the same problem-solving techniques when you work on multiple projects, business functions, market segments, services, systems, processes, and teams. Standardize and scale!
  • Problem-solving skills are important when you want to seize the day. Problem solving is all about innovation , building new things, and changing the system into a better one. This can help us to identify opportunities even in challenging times and prepare us for the future. You can visualize the process with the Meddles Game to better understand your ideas, solutions, and activities. It is a great way to engage your team as you can build the problem-solving concept and it is an effective tool for influencing all stakeholders affected by the problem. 

Also read: Collaborative Leadership explained .

Solving complex problems may be difficult, but problems will be solved when we use the right tools. Besides the powerful Management 3.0 tools I already mentioned, as a big fan of Lean and Liberating structures, I think you can find lots of problem-solving techniques to use in your daily business. 

Here is my short list of tools and techniques:

  • 5 Whys – a great way to uncover the root cause is to understand the problem better. 
  • Fishbone analysis – for visual analysis of the root causes of a problem. Easy to combine with ‘5 Whys’ or ‘Mind mapping’ to brainstorm and determine the cause and effect of any problem.
  • Silent brainstorming – gives everyone a chance to participate in idea generation as not only the loudest people, but also the quiet ones, will participate equally. Everyone’s opinion has the same weight. 
  • Mind maps – structured visual diagrams to share your ideas, concepts, and solutions the same way your brain does. You explain the problems quickly, then share fresh ideas, and finally come to a team consensus that can lead to an effective solution. 
  • Six thinking hats – enable your team to consider problems from different angles, focusing on facts, creative solutions, or why some solutions might not work.
  • Agreement certainty matrix – another tremendous visual tool for brainstorming problems and challenges by sorting them into simple, complicated, complex, or chaotic domains to later agree on what approach should be used to solve the concrete problems affecting a team.  
  • Conversation café – enables the team to engage in productive conversations, with less arguing but more active listening, solving the problem in rounds of dialogues until reaching a consensus regarding the best problem-solving approach. 
  • Design thinking – when you are struggling for fresh ideas, the 5-step process will help you empathize with the problem, then begin defining and developing new ideas, before prototyping and testing them. 

Edward Deming’s PDCA is the most known concept for continuous improvement and problem solving. You can gamify your events using the Change Management Game , a card game where PDCA will help you define the problem, take action, collect feedback, and adopt the new solution.

The “carrot and stick” approach, or in HR language, “pay for performance,” does not work anymore, especially for roles that require problem-solving, creativity, and innovative thinking. Creative people need a higher level of authority and empowerment to self-manage challenges and problem scenarios. When leaders and organizations create such systems, they foster intrinsic motivation and job satisfaction among these people. Creatives are seeking self-actualization through their careers.

This is one more case which calls for Management 3.0’s Delegation Poker to define the levels of authority in terms of problem-solving issues, as well as Moving Motivators to define key motivators for increasing productivity and employee satisfaction by changing behavior.

Improving Employee Experience with Problem-Solving

1. Use problem solving as a key motivator – have in mind Millennials and Gen Z creative workers ’ affinity towards tasks in which they feel challenged and have a sense of meaning. Provide them with big and tough problems to solve and use challenging tasks to keep them constantly engaged.

2. Continuous improvement can make a difference – creatives seek a sense of purpose and think outside of the box, so encouraging the ‘How can we execute this task better?’ mindset and problem solving become powerful tools for creating sustainable corporate culture.

3. Don’t connect solving problems with rewards – it can kill the perceived intrinsic value of the activity; it will disengage and dissatisfy employees. Autonomy, trust, respect, and gratitude will do the job. 

4. Apply the seven rules for creative managers – unleash the power of diversity , and cooperation, rely on merits, optimize exploration, open boundaries, keep options open, and update your workplace. 

Improving Employee Experience with Problem-Solving

We start solving problems from a very early age (the alphabet, learning to eat, driving a bicycle etc.). Then, everyday activities sharpen our problem-solving skills and enable us to solve more complex issues. 

As an adult, you can still develop your problem-solving skills by:

  • Daily practicing of logic games, such as chess, and puzzles like Sudoku. 
  • Video games can teach you how to deal with failure and persist in achieving your goals.
  • Keep an idea journal or blog as a collection of all your ideas, thoughts, and patterns. 
  • Think outside of the box – take a different perspective to understand the problem better.
  • Practice brainstorming combined with mind mapping, working with your team.
  • Put yourself in new situations – take on a challenging project at work.
  • Start using the “what if” mindset in daily circumstances and test new approaches.
  • Read more books on creativity and articles which cover your areas of interest. 

I also believe coaching can help build creativity and problem-solving skills, encouraging people to take greater ownership of their work and commit to corporate goals. A coach can provide clear guidance as to what is important at the moment; they help people better, focus, and move into action. By asking powerful questions and challenging others to think outside of the box, the coach removes their barriers and lets them see the situation from a new perspective.

Coaching can provide structure so people develop their own expertise and insights to contribute better when problems arise and the pressure to succeed is growing.

The interview is an excellent opportunity to research a candidate’s problem-solving skills, and STAR questions should be related to their previous experience dealing with problems. A candidate with good problem-solving skills can quickly embed in the team and become a valuable asset for the company.

In my Agility in HR workshops , we regularly discuss interview questions. Some popular STAR questions are:

  • “If you cannot find a solution to a problem, how do you deal with the situation?”
  • “How do you react when faced with unexpected problems or challenges?”
  • “Describe an occasion when you had to adapt at the last minute. How did you handle this?”

Problem-solving requires the ability to identify a problem, find the root cause, create solutions, and execute them. All these steps are essential for achieving the desired results. 

Some of the skills that problem solvers must constantly sharpen are:

  • Collaborative communication . Clear communication is essential when you explain the problem and the solution to your teammates. During brainstorming sessions, asking the right questions to determine the root cause , as well as synergic collaboration are needed.
  • Active listening is important to prevent mistakes as  you can absorb the details your colleagues tell you about the problem. Use open-ended questions for clarification, and always be open to feedback and views that differ from yours.
  • Coachability. The willingness to accept feedback and the ability to improve. Learning from more experienced people, being curious to ask many questions, constructively using your ego, skipping excuses and blaming others, and accepting Feedback Wraps from your coach.
  • Decision making . Problems cannot be solved without risk-taking and bringing important decisions (including relevant data, levels of delegation, alternative solutions etc.) to the forefront.
  • Critical thinking . Be 100% objective when you try to find the cause of the problem. Skip ego trips and personal biases. Identify your mistakes in the thinking process and show personal accountability .
  • Research and data analysis . Proper research allows you to diagnose the actual problem, not just the symptoms. If the cause of the problem is not immediately apparent, you can use the power of data to discover the issue’s history, some patterns, future trends, etc.
  • Persistence . Trust in the problem-solving process you have designed and follow every step with patience and persistence; even when you fail repeatedly, do not give up. Keep moving and remember Thomas Edison’s quote: “I have not failed. I have just found 9,999 ways that do not work.”

Skills of good problem-solvers

In the new VUCA world we now live in, problem solving is a crucial soft skill, and employers are actively seeking people with this skill set because they can prepare for problems before they arise. Problem solvers better identify opportunities, understand their environment, create a solution, and generate ideas that lead to great results and success.

According to a study made by LinkedIn Learning in August 2022 , future skills are rapidly changing, and problem solving is among the top soft skills employers search for from their candidates, as well as communication and leadership skills .

Using all aforementioned tools and practices from Management 3.0, following the guides, and sharpening your skills, will help you not only to be effective in resolving the problems that may arise, but also to solve them with enthusiasm and passion. They will create a higher level of engagement and collaboration in the team and help unleash people’s creativity and innovation. A win-win for everyone!

Photo by Parabol on Unsplash

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4 Reasons Why Problem-Solving Skills Are Essential for Leaders

Posted on November 30th, 2023

In the fast-paced world of business, problem-solving stands as a beacon of excellence for leaders. 

It's not just a skill, but a vital necessity that sets the stage for success in a myriad of business scenarios. 

Leaders who excel in problem solving in business not only navigate through challenges with ease but also propel their organizations towards new heights of innovation and efficiency. 

The essence of problem solving lies in understanding the complexities of issues and finding effective, sustainable solutions. 

Why is problem solving important in business? It's simple: this skill enables leaders to dissect intricate problems, forecast potential challenges, and devise strategies that are both innovative and practical. 

Moreover, problem-solving leadership goes beyond just fixing issues; it involves anticipating problems before they arise and creating an environment where solutions are proactively developed. 

As we dive deeper into this subject, we explore how problem-solving as a leader is not just about addressing issues but also about inspiring teams, driving change, and fostering a culture of continuous improvement. Leaders adept in problem-solving become architects of their organization's future, navigating the business landscape with foresight and agility. 

For those looking to refine these vital skills, executive coaching offers a tailored pathway to mastering the art of problem-solving in business management.

1. Enhancing Decision-Making Capabilities

Problem-solving skills are intrinsically linked to the quality of decisions made by leaders. In the business realm, every decision can have far-reaching consequences, and the ability to solve problems effectively ensures that these decisions are well-informed and strategic. Leaders with refined problem-solving abilities are more likely to consider various facets of a problem, weigh different options, and arrive at decisions that benefit their organization in the long term.

Problem Solving Models and Leadership Decisions

Problem solving models in business provide structured approaches to tackling issues, helping leaders break down complex problems into manageable parts. These models serve as blueprints, guiding leaders through the decision-making process and ensuring that every aspect of the problem is considered. By employing these models, leaders can enhance their decision-making process, leading to outcomes that are not only effective but also aligned with the organization's goals and values.

2: Fostering Innovation and Creativity

In the context of leadership, problem-solving skills are not just about addressing existing issues; they are also about paving the way for innovation and creativity. Leaders adept in problem-solving encourage an atmosphere where out-of-the-box thinking is not just welcomed, but actively sought. This section delves into how problem-solving skills can be a springboard for innovative ideas and creative solutions in business.

Enhancing Innovation Through Problem-Solving

Problem-solving in business often requires thinking beyond conventional solutions. Leaders who excel in problem-solving foster an environment where creativity is nurtured, and new ideas are explored. This approach not only leads to innovative solutions to existing problems but also opens doors to discovering opportunities that might have been overlooked. By embracing creative problem-solving, leaders can drive their organizations towards groundbreaking advancements and industry leadership.

Creative Problem-Solving in Action

Illustrative examples of leaders using creative problem-solving can be found across industries. From tech giants developing new software solutions to small businesses redefining their marketing strategies, the application of creative problem-solving is vast and varied. These examples serve as a testament to how innovative thinking, combined with effective problem-solving skills, can lead to remarkable business achievements and set a precedent for others in the industry.

3: Improving Team Dynamics and Performance

Effective problem-solving is a cornerstone of strong team dynamics and high performance in business settings. Leaders who are skilled problem solvers not only address issues efficiently but also foster a collaborative atmosphere in their teams. This section explores the influence of problem-solving leadership on team cohesion and performance.

The Role of Problem-Solving in Team Collaboration

Problem-solving in business management isn't a solitary endeavor; it involves the whole team. Leaders who use problem-solving skills effectively can enhance team collaboration. By involving team members in the problem-solving process, leaders can harness diverse perspectives and expertise, leading to more comprehensive and inclusive solutions. This collaborative approach not only solves problems more effectively but also strengthens the team by building trust and mutual respect.

Managing and Resolving Team Conflicts

Problem-solving skills are crucial in managing and resolving conflicts within teams. Leaders who are adept problem solvers can identify the root causes of conflicts and address them in ways that are constructive rather than divisive. By applying problem-solving techniques, leaders can turn conflicts into opportunities for team growth and learning, ultimately enhancing team performance and unity.

4. Navigating Business Challenges Efficiently

Problem-solving is not only about responding to existing challenges but also about anticipating and navigating through potential business hurdles with agility and foresight. Leaders who excel in problem-solving can steer their organizations through turbulent times with confidence and clarity. This section examines the role of problem-solving skills in navigating complex business landscapes and the impact they have on organizational resilience and success.

Overcoming Complex Business Challenges

In the ever-evolving business world, challenges come in various forms - from market competition and technological advancements to internal operational issues. Leaders equipped with strong problem-solving skills are able to identify the core of these challenges and apply effective solutions. This ability to navigate complex problems not only ensures the smooth functioning of the business but also positions the organization for long-term success and sustainability.

Case Studies of Successful Problem-Solving in Business Management

Examining real-life case studies where leaders have successfully navigated complex business challenges can be incredibly enlightening. These cases illustrate how a combination of analytical thinking, creative problem-solving, and strategic planning can lead to successful outcomes in difficult situations. They also provide valuable insights into how leaders can apply similar strategies in their own organizations to overcome hurdles and capitalize on opportunities.

Building Resilience and Adaptability For Business Leadership

The ability to solve problems effectively is closely linked to building resilience and adaptability in both leaders and their organizations. In a business environment characterized by constant change and uncertainty, these qualities are indispensable. This section explores how problem-solving skills contribute to the development of resilience and adaptability, preparing leaders and their teams to face future challenges with confidence.

Strengthening Organizational Resilience Through Problem-Solving

Problem-solving is a key driver of organizational resilience. Leaders who can effectively address and resolve issues contribute to building a robust foundation for their organizations. This resilience enables businesses to withstand market fluctuations, adapt to changing environments, and emerge stronger from crises. The cultivation of problem-solving skills is therefore critical in ensuring that organizations are not just surviving, but thriving in the face of adversity.

Preparing for the Unforeseen: The Role of Problem-Solving

In addition to addressing current challenges, problem-solving skills are essential in preparing for unforeseen events. Leaders who are adept in these skills can anticipate potential issues, develop contingency plans, and adapt strategies as circumstances evolve. This proactive approach to problem-solving not only safeguards the organization against future risks but also instills a culture of adaptability and continuous learning.

In summary, problem-solving skills are indispensable for leaders in the modern business world. These skills enhance decision-making, spur innovation, improve team dynamics, navigate challenges, and build organizational resilience. Leaders who master problem-solving set their teams and businesses on a path of growth, adaptability, and long-term success. 

Embracing and honing these skills is crucial in an ever-evolving business landscape. For leaders looking to develop and refine their problem-solving capabilities, executive coaching provides a tailored and effective pathway. Reach out to us at [email protected] to explore how our executive coaching services can elevate your leadership skills and prepare you to tackle business challenges with confidence and expertise.

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Problem Solving Ability

Definition: anticipating, analyzing, diagnosing, and resolving problems..

Leaders with an aptitude for problem-solving have the ability to analyze, diagnose and deal with problems effectively. Whether the problem is linear and “tame,” or nonlinear and “wicked,” adept problem solvers have a natural propensity to discover and help lead others to solutions. The leaders of tomorrow must learn to be collaborative problem-solving facilitators, instead of solitary master problem-solvers. Problem-solving ability is a multi-faceted competency that uses other skills discussed throughout the Leaders Are Clear Thinkers section, including conceptual thinking, planning and organization, and creativity. In this section you’ll discover resources and activities to sharpen your problem-solving skills.

Join our community  to learn more about problem-solving skills, and to access resources and activities to help you along the way. 

Problem Solving Ability Coaching Guide

Leaders with an aptitude for problem-solving have the ability to analyze, diagnose and deal with problems effectively.

How to Teach Your Organization to Respond Quickly to Opportunity

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A Different Approach to Strategy

For authors Dr. Timothy Waema, Ron Price, and Dr. Evans Baiya, strategy is only one part of the work they do for clients across the globe.

The Complete Leader Audio Book: Problem Solving Ability (Part 1.6)

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Want to improve your Problem Solving Ability skills? Check out this graphic for a variety of ideas that you can start implementing right away to improve your sc

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How to Strategize for Disruption

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Asking what to do about the “Great Resignation” is the wrong question right now. A better question is, “How can we benefit from this shift?

Create a Team of Master Problem Solvers

Problem-solving is an essential skill as an innovator. If problems stump your employees, how can your organization ever innovate for customers?

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7 Problem-Solving Skills That Can Help You Be a More Successful Manager

Discover what problem-solving is, and why it's important for managers. Understand the steps of the process and learn about seven problem-solving skills.

[Featured Image]:  A manager wearing a black suit is talking to a team member, handling an issue  utilizing the process of problem-solving

1Managers oversee the day-to-day operations of a particular department, and sometimes a whole company, using their problem-solving skills regularly. Managers with good problem-solving skills can help ensure companies run smoothly and prosper.

If you're a current manager or are striving to become one, read this guide to discover what problem-solving skills are and why it's important for managers to have them. Learn the steps of the problem-solving process, and explore seven skills that can help make problem-solving easier and more effective.

What is problem-solving?

Problem-solving is both an ability and a process. As an ability, problem-solving can aid in resolving issues faced in different environments like home, school, abroad, and social situations, among others. As a process, problem-solving involves a series of steps for finding solutions to questions or concerns that arise throughout life.

The importance of problem-solving for managers

Managers deal with problems regularly, whether supervising a staff of two or 100. When people solve problems quickly and effectively, workplaces can benefit in a number of ways. These include:

Greater creativity

Higher productivity

Increased job fulfillment

Satisfied clients or customers

Better cooperation and cohesion

Improved environments for employees and customers

7 skills that make problem-solving easier

Companies depend on managers who can solve problems adeptly. Although problem-solving is a skill in its own right, a subset of seven skills can help make the process of problem-solving easier. These include analysis, communication, emotional intelligence, resilience, creativity, adaptability, and teamwork.

1. Analysis

As a manager , you'll solve each problem by assessing the situation first. Then, you’ll use analytical skills to distinguish between ineffective and effective solutions.

2. Communication

Effective communication plays a significant role in problem-solving, particularly when others are involved. Some skills that can help enhance communication at work include active listening, speaking with an even tone and volume, and supporting verbal information with written communication.

3. Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize and manage emotions in any situation. People with emotional intelligence usually solve problems calmly and systematically, which often yields better results.

4. Resilience

Emotional intelligence and resilience are closely related traits. Resiliency is the ability to cope with and bounce back quickly from difficult situations. Those who possess resilience are often capable of accurately interpreting people and situations, which can be incredibly advantageous when difficulties arise.

5. Creativity 

When brainstorming solutions to problems, creativity can help you to think outside the box. Problem-solving strategies can be enhanced with the application of creative techniques. You can use creativity to:

Approach problems from different angles

Improve your problem-solving process

Spark creativity in your employees and peers

6. Adaptability

Adaptability is the capacity to adjust to change. When a particular solution to an issue doesn't work, an adaptable person can revisit the concern to think up another one without getting frustrated.

7. Teamwork

Finding a solution to a problem regularly involves working in a team. Good teamwork requires being comfortable working with others and collaborating with them, which can result in better problem-solving overall.

Steps of the problem-solving process

Effective problem-solving involves five essential steps. One way to remember them is through the IDEAL model created in 1984 by psychology professors John D. Bransford and Barry S. Stein [ 1 ]. The steps to solving problems in this model include: identifying that there is a problem, defining the goals you hope to achieve, exploring potential solutions, choosing a solution and acting on it, and looking at (or evaluating) the outcome.

1. Identify that there is a problem and root out its cause.

To solve a problem, you must first admit that one exists to then find its root cause. Finding the cause of the problem may involve asking questions like:

Can the problem be solved?

How big of a problem is it?

Why do I think the problem is occurring?

What are some things I know about the situation?

What are some things I don't know about the situation?

Are there any people who contributed to the problem?

Are there materials or processes that contributed to the problem?

Are there any patterns I can identify?

2. Define the goals you hope to achieve.

Every problem is different. The goals you hope to achieve when problem-solving depend on the scope of the problem. Some examples of goals you might set include:

Gather as much factual information as possible.

Brainstorm many different strategies to come up with the best one.

Be flexible when considering other viewpoints.

Articulate clearly and encourage questions, so everyone involved is on the same page.

Be open to other strategies if the chosen strategy doesn't work.

Stay positive throughout the process.

3. Explore potential solutions.

Once you've defined the goals you hope to achieve when problem-solving , it's time to start the process. This involves steps that often include fact-finding, brainstorming, prioritizing solutions, and assessing the cost of top solutions in terms of time, labor, and money.

4. Choose a solution and act on it.

Evaluate the pros and cons of each potential solution, and choose the one most likely to solve the problem within your given budget, abilities, and resources. Once you choose a solution, it's important to make a commitment and see it through. Draw up a plan of action for implementation, and share it with all involved parties clearly and effectively, both verbally and in writing. Make sure everyone understands their role for a successful conclusion.

5. Look at (or evaluate) the outcome.

Evaluation offers insights into your current situation and future problem-solving. When evaluating the outcome, ask yourself questions like:

Did the solution work?

Will this solution work for other problems?

Were there any changes you would have made?

Would another solution have worked better?

As a current or future manager looking to build your problem-solving skills, it is often helpful to take a professional course. Consider Improving Communication Skills offered by the University of Pennsylvania on Coursera. You'll learn how to boost your ability to persuade, ask questions, negotiate, apologize, and more. 

You might also consider taking Emotional Intelligence: Cultivating Immensely Human Interactions , offered by the University of Michigan on Coursera. You'll explore the interpersonal and intrapersonal skills common to people with emotional intelligence, and you'll learn how emotional intelligence is connected to team success and leadership.

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Article sources

Tennessee Tech. “ The Ideal Problem Solver (2nd ed.) , https://www.tntech.edu/cat/pdf/useful_links/idealproblemsolver.pdf.” Accessed December 6, 2022.

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why is problem solving important for leaders

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Leaders Can Use These Nine Skills to Become Better Problem-Solvers

why is problem solving important for leaders

We often think of leaders as problem solvers, and this opens the possibility of leaders honing their problem-solving skills through training. But how can we train leaders to solve problems? Specifically, it is something called “case-based knowledge” that allows leaders to solve complex issues. Case-based knowledge refers to the context of the problem and any previous experience with similar issues , like a mental library of information tailored toward a specific problem.

But while case-based knowledge has the potential to  improve performance in leadership roles , it is not necessarily enough by itself. Some leaders may get bogged down in the details of a decision or find it difficult to work on multiple cases at once because their case-based knowledge is stored in insufficient “mental models.” A mental model is a network of information that helps people mentally process and store information efficiently. Mental models directly impact a leader’s behavior and problem-solving ability.

In order to improve leader performance through training, the primary question is: what skills best help leaders use case-based knowledge and mental models to solve complex problems ?  Researchers (Mumford, Todd, Higgs, & McIntosh, 2017) reviewed recent literature to identify nine skills critical to leadership performance:


  • Gather information to define the problem.
  • Think about the origin of the problem and possible solutions to the problem and how they are related.
  • Consider any factors that may be constraining solutions.
  • Plan the solution and consider ways to prevent harmful outcomes.
  • Objectively forecast or predict what outcomes will occur after the plan is implemented.
  • Use creativity to develop contingency plans.
  • Evaluate ideas and appraise solutions. Which will be most effective?
  • Use wisdom to appraise solutions using objective self-reflection, awareness, and sound judgment.
  • Craft a vision and communicate, adjust, and articulate plans to followers.


When considering the leader as a problem solver, the above nine critical skills will help improve the use of case-based knowledge in mental models of leaders. This leads to more effective problem-solving. Each skill should be considered more or less important depending on the situation. For example, creativity may be important during unanticipated crises , but forecasting may be more critical for social problems with a myriad of possible outcomes. These cognitive skills are easily developed through training, such as strategy-based instructional interventions or self-reflection exercises. They may also be considered for use in assessing leadership potential. Overall, these skills allow leaders to more effectively navigate case-based knowledge in mental models, resulting in higher-quality solutions .

Mumford, M. D., Todd, E. M., Higgs, C., & McIntosh, T. (2017). Cognitive skills and leadership performance: The nine critical skills.  The Leadership Quarterly, 28 , 24-39.

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A leader as someone who can look at the mistakes and failures of their past to help make a better decision in the future. As a result, they are unlikely to make the same mistake twice, and when the same problem comes along, they are more likely to solve it properly. Let's look at problem solving.

Problem solving is a form of thinking, often considered to be the most complex of all intellectual functions that a person can have. Problem solving is defined as a higher-order cognitive skill and it occurs in an organism if it does not know how to proceed from a given state to achieve a desired goal. There are several types of problems that can be exceedingly difficult to solve, and require the skills of a great leader or problem solver to handle them. Here are a few examples:

  • Intransparency - This a problem where there is a lack of clarity of the situation. A good example of this is someone who owns a boat, but rarely is on the water, but now has to deal with a hurricane which they have never had to face before.
  • Polytely - This is where multiple goals must be achieved. A good example of this is a person who has a business report due that must not only show how to cut costs, but also to do it without firing anyone, while allowing revenue to increase for the company.
  • Complexity - This is a large number of items and decisions to take into consideration for the problem. An example of this is a situation where someone will be dealing with many complex factors at once, like a financial sheet, where they have to make it balance properly.
  • Dynamics - This is a problem with time considerations. A military leader who is facing the onslaught of the enemy in five minutes needs to devise a plan quickly.

What makes problem solving so important to leadership? Well, the short answer is that without problem solving skills, a leader will not be able to solve the many problems they will face in their lifetime, from the mundane to the critical.

Problem solving is a lot like leadership; those who have it are both born with it and learn how to use it.

People may be born with a highly logical mind that allows them to assess situations quickly and determine the best course of action, but without the practice of using that in various situations, that skill can fade away. Like any talent, it must be honed and practiced to make it work properly.

Leaders often possess problem solving capabilities, but it is up to them to make those capabilities work properly. They need to be able to look at the problems they have faced in the past and to be able to use those experiences to figure out their current predicament.

For example, if a great military commander is on the high seas and he finds himself surrounded by three other ships, he has only a few options. He can flee, he can attack them one at a time, or he can use them against themselves. Now, say he has faced this situation once before and he attacked one at a time, only to nearly lose his ship before he fled. In this present situation, he can look at that past experience and realize that attacking one at a time is not the way to go. So, instead he uses his hopefully faster and more agile ship to go around the other ships and force them to fire at him, only to hit the ships of their fellow countrymen.

Therefore, by looking at the past situation, the military commander was able to know what not to do and reduce his three difficult choices to only two. This gave him much better odds.

Problem solving works like this. Thousands of years ago, as our species was first hunting big game, we probably chased after them as a group, only to have them outrun us. So, we learned from that and we decided to chase after game and send them towards other hunters, who could then take down the prey. Therefore, the problem solving worked by relying on past experiences to solve the problem.

Again, we see that supervision is associated with leadership, but not actually something leadership needs.

Also, people can be taught how to look at problems, how to assess them, and how to create the solutions that may be needed. School is an excellent example of this concept, where children are taught in math how to solve many different problems. In fact, tests in nearly every subject are completely dependent on problem solving.

  • You need to look at all the elements of the problem first and understand the forces that are affecting the situation. This could be looking at enemy forces coming over the hill, figuring out which of your running backs is open, or perhaps it is looking at the variables in a math question.
  • Next, you need to understand the causes behind the problem. Why are those troops charging at us, what is the other team doing to stop our player, how do these variables play into the math question?
  • Understand the roles of those with you, and those against you. This may not apply to math questions, but it certainly applies to sports and war, and as a result many great leaders are lauded in these two avenues for their ability to problem solve.
  • Last, evaluate the ability of those on your side, and those on the other side to affect the situation. You may think a barrage of arrows will stop the troops coming at you, but if you fail to think that the other commander thought of that and has his archers already firing, you may end up on the losing end of a battle .

This process shows just how a leader will problem solve in a situation. When we look at leaders in the past, people are astounded by their ability to solve problems that many would deem to be nearly impossible to solve. As well, we often see them going up against the odds and winning, in no small part due to their problem solving abilities. Let's look at historical leaders and see how problem solving played a role in their legendary achievements.

  • Julius Caesar conquered a huge portion of Europe using his wits and the troops in his army with innovative methods.
  • Alexander the Great conquered most of the known world by using problem solving techniques, including building a huge bridge to transport siege equipment across, just in order to take a small island.
  • Boadicea defeated the Romans in London, despite being outnumbered, by using her knowledge of the terrain and her own problem solving skills, to her advantage.
  • Gandhi looked at the problem of British occupation in India and came up with his own solution that would work given the dominance of the British: Non-violent resistance. Looking at the number of his people versus the number of the British, it was the clear solution.
  • Epicurus routinely used problem solving to look at the world around him and devise solutions as to why the world is the way it is.
  • Horatio Nelson's life was based on problem solving, overcoming the odds, and defeating the enemy with new and innovative methods.

When we look at the world of problem solving, it is clear to see why it is an important leadership characteristic. When there is a problem that needs to be solved, it is not up to the followers to find the solution, although a good leader will get their input on the matter. It is up to the leader to look at the problem, the information they have been provided, and be able to find a solution to it, using whatever information they have at their disposal.

Because planning is very important in problem solving, we also need to discuss planning here as well

This emphasizes the importance of planning. It means knowing the situation you are in, figuring out a way to get through it, and then, implementing that solution. Writers call it a plot outline, computer programmers call it a flowchart, leaders call it destiny or their grand plan, but no matter what, they all have the ability to plan to solve problems.

There may be problems that are immediate, like how to deal with an irate subordinate, or they may be more long term, like how to deal with climate change. It could be something personal for the leader, like planning their own march into the history books, or it may be a plan for someone else. Boadicea burned London down in the First Century, A.D. because Roman soldiers killed her husband and raped her daughters. She planned the attack and she executed it for personal reasons, but didn't do it alone.

Can You Lead Without Planning?

Some people believe that it is possible to lead people without planning a course of action. There are some who can do this, but they are not leaders, they are lucky. Those that are lucky look like great leaders because of the luck, but eventually luck catches up with them and turns from good to bad.

Planning is core to leadership. Even supervision needs planning. When a supervisor is showing someone how to work on a new piece of machinery, they need a plan of action to help them through the steps. They need to be able to start from the basics and progress through the difficult parts to teach the employee what they need to know about the machinery. They cannot just show them what it does and walk away.

Leaders need to plan because it shows those around them that not only do they calmly assess situations in looking for the best way out, but they do not simply go blindly into a situation, which in terms of war, can have disastrous consequences. When a leader shows that they have concern for their troops, the troops will follow them to Hell and back again.

How Do Leaders Plan?

Essentially, they plan like anyone else, they just do a much better job of it. The important thing that leaders do when they plan is that they look at the entire situation and then they determine the best course of action. Does this sound a lot like problem solving? It should, because as we stated earlier, it is an integral part of planning.

Here are some of the key things leaders do when they plan a course of action for themselves, and those around them:

  • They look at the situation as a whole before they ever break it down to see the integral parts of the problem or goal.
  • They talk to those around them to get their opinions. They may not follow the opinions, but a good leader always tries to understand what their followers and advisors think.
  • They use their own 'gut feeling'. One of the most important things a leader has at their disposal is a gut feeling. This is their intuition and when a leader is planning a course of action, they always listen to it. If they have an uneasy feeling about a situation, they will not take that course of action and they will readjust their plan. For a leader, a gut feeling is one of their greatest tools.
  • They look at the end result that they want to achieve and the situation that they are in at that time. Afterwards, they plan how to get from point A to point B in the best manner.
  • Once they have decided on a plan, they go through with that plan and they do not waver from it. If you remember from Lesson One, we learned that sticking to your guns was a huge part of being a leader, and if a leader wants people to follow them, they should not flip-flop.

Leaders will plan in different ways, but the end result will always be the same. Either they will succeed, and then they will know that the plan they just implemented was the best for the job. Or they will fail, and they will then use that experience to determine how best to proceed when faced with the same situation in the future.

Planning for the Best

Chance Favors the Prepared

The above statement is a good way to look at how leaders think. They leave nothing to chance and they plan out every scenario that they can, so they will have the desired result. This then comes down to the next statement:

Hope for the Best, Prepare for the Worst

We all hope for the best, but very few of us plan for the worst. More often than not, people will hope the leaders around them will take care of that, and that is what separates leaders from the rest of the people. They prepare for the worst because they know that while they hope for the best, there is no guarantee that it will happen. When you don't get the best result, you don't want to be caught off guard.

The point is that a leader has to plan for the future and they have to plan for the best, as well as the worst outcome. This means that a leader does not only have one plan of action in their head, they have dozens, or more. Military commanders in the past had to plan their attack, and, at the same time, plan what to do if they were flanked by the enemy's cavalry. In addition, they also had to plan what to do if the enemy had forces hidden in reserve.

To be a great leader, you need to be able to problem solve. To be able to problem solve, you need to be able to plan.

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Despite being fundamental to effective leadership, recruiting future leaders with adequate ... [+] problem-solving skills is surprisingly difficult.

Complex problem solving is an essential leadership skill. Leadership consultancy Zenger Folkman recently surveyed over 300,000 managers and found it was the second most-important competency for effective leadership (next to inspiring and motivating others). The 2016 OECD Survey of Adult Skills showed that complex problem-solving is critical for fast-growing, highly skilled managerial occupations. Company recruiters polled last year by the Financial Times consistently rank the ability to solve complex problems among the five most important skills of MBA graduates.

Yet, d espite being fundamental to effective leadership, recruiting future leaders with adequate problem-solving skills is surprisingly difficult. In surveying organizations that hire MBA graduates, Bloomberg Businessweek found that the second-biggest skill gap recruiters faced was with candidates’ creative problem-solving skills. Another survey of company recruiters showed the biggest skill gap in new college graduates was in problem solving and critical thinking.

Technology To The Rescue? Not Likely

Organizations need effective problem solvers, but they’re telling us our business schools and universities are failing to meet this need. Such training is critical because, for most of us, problem solving doesn’t come naturally. Research shows a host of pitfalls trip us up: we’re quick to believe we understand a situation and jump to a flawed solution. We seek to confirm our hypotheses about solutions and ignore conflicting evidence. We view challenges incompletely through the frameworks we know instead of with a fresh pair of eyes. And when we communicate our recommendations, we forget our reasoning isn’t obvious to our audience.

Technology is unlikely to remedy the situation anytime soon, if ever. M ost analysts believe the rise of artificial intelligence and other new technologies are likely to place an even bigger premium on human problem solving. For example, the World Economic Forum predicts that 36 percent of all jobs across all industries will require complex problem solving as one of their core skills by 2020—by far the most important skill identified in the study.

A Management Consultant’s Raison D’être

What can be done to close the problem-solving skill gap facing leaders and their organizations?

One place to look for inspiration is an industry that exists to solve some of the most difficult problems organizations face – management consulting. In fact, the lack of problem-solving skills in corporations can help explain why so many of them rely on consultants.

For a management consultant, solving problems that are outside of the day-to-day job of their clients is the day-to-day job. Consulting firms, such as McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group, and Bain, exist to solve business problems and convince clients to act on their recommendations. McKinsey, for example, employs some 10,000 consultants globally and hires around 3,000 rookies every year, and views problem-solving as the most important skill for success in the firm.

Transforming Rookies Into Professional Problem Solvers

Consulting firms therefore take problem-solving skills very seriously. Hiring teams strive to assess the problem-solving skills of applicants using anxiety-inducing “case interviews,” in which bright young candidates must demonstrate their analytical prowess.

But raw intellectual horsepower isn’t the only ingredient. S trategy firms turn rookies into trusted advisors partly by teaching them structured and robust problem-solving techniques. These include deductive, top-down analytical approaches such as issues trees and hypothesis pyramids, and inductive, bottom-up approaches associated with design thinking. The rapid succession of client engagements presents new consultants with challenging problems on which to hone their skills. The best firms provide a combination of formal training and on-the-job coaching to raise the problem-solving game of their staff.

The focus of consulting firms on equipping their professionals with structured methods for solving complex problems doesn’t just reflect the tried and tested wisdom of practitioners. The value of such approaches is also supported by research in cognitive and industrial psychology. When we face non-routine, complex business problems, we need reasoning skills that apply across domains of knowledge. We also need to harness expertise and intelligence and overcome our powerful temptation to jump to ill-informed solutions. Research shows that a disciplined problem-solving method along with a set of tools for each step of the process can greatly increase the quality of solutions. While the idea of a structured and generalizable problem-solving process may not sound exciting , the guidance and discipline it provides can give leaders the confidence and ability to crack the problems that matter most to their organizations.

Business Schools Step Into The Breach

This realization has recently led business schools like HEC Paris to create problem-solving and communications courses and the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University to develop an integrative, problem-focused MBA core curriculum . We have taken an active role in these efforts, as well as co-authoring the forthcoming book Cracked it! How to Solve Big Problems and Sell Solutions Like Top Strategy Consultants (Palgrave MacMillan). This experience has taught us that problem-solving methods can be successfully taught and applied outside of consulting – provided they are adequately adapted to suit the needs of managers.

Like all skills, problem solving cannot be learned simply by taking a class or reading a book. It requires practice (ideally in teams) and greatly benefits from feedback and coaching. But, like all skills, its fundamentals can be learned. It’s time to make teaching them a core part of management and business schools’ curricula.

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Why are problem solving skills in the workplace so important? Subskills, benefits, scenarios

Test your candidates' problem-solving skills with testgorilla.

why is problem solving important for leaders

The importance of problem-solving skills in the workplace can’t be overstated. Every business and job role has its problems. From entry-level hires to senior staffers, every one of your employees will face challenges that don’t can’t be answered by doing a quick Google search – or asking ChatGPT to come up with solutions.

That’s why employers must hire people with excellent problem-solving skills, especially for roles that require dealing with complex business challenges, tight deadlines, and changing variables – for example, when recruiting leaders .

But what are problem-solving skills? What role do they play in the workplace? 

And, most importantly, how can you evaluate candidates’ skills before you hire them?

Table of contents

What are problem solving skills, the benefits of problem solving skills: why are problem solving skills important , examples of problems at the workplace – and how problem solving skills can help, how to assess problem solving skills, evaluate problem solving skills and hire candidates who can think for themselves.

To fully understand the importance of problem-solving skills in the workplace, it’s important first to understand the broad skill set that we commonly refer to as “problem solving skills”. 

Generally, problem-solving refers to a person’s ability to successfully manage and find solutions for complex and unexpected situations. 

Candidates with great problem-solving skills have a combination of analytical and creative thinking. They’re comfortable with making decisions and confident enough to rise to challenges in the workplace.

These candidates possess a combination of analytical, creative, and critical-thinking skills – and a high level of attention to detail . As a result, they will quickly identify problems when they arise and identify the most effective solutions. 

They’ll also identify the factors and forces that might have caused the problem and instigate changes to mitigate future challenges.

There are six key problem-solving skills that you should look for when assessing job candidates: 

key problem solving skills to look for when hiring

1. Listening skills

Active listeners are generally great problem solvers. 

They can listen to those around them to gather the information needed to solve the problem at hand. They also recognize the importance of valuing others’ opinions and experiences to help understand why the problem occurred and define the best course of action to remedy it. 

2. Analytical thinking skills 

Analytical thinkers can identify the logical reasons why a problem occurred, what the long-term effects of the issue could be, and identify how effective different solutions might be to select the most practical one. 

That’s why it’s essential to assess analytical thinking skills during recruitment.

3. Creative thinking skills

Creative thinkers can balance their analytical skills with creative approaches to challenges. Creative thinking skills enable individuals to uncover innovative and progressive solutions to problems. 

In this way, they’re able to provide new perspectives and provide imaginative and experimental solutions to all kinds of problems. 

4. Communication skills 

Problem solvers should also possess great communication skills . The ability to effectively relay complex information thoroughly yet succinctly is a huge benefit for employers working in fast-paced environments. 

5. Decision-making skills 

Those with problem-solving skills will also possess the ability to make decisions and be confident in them. This is important, because most problem-solving involves making firm decisions to reach a successful outcome. 

6. Teamwork

Although problem-solvers need to be independent thinkers, it’s also vital for them to work well as part of a team . 

Determining the best solution often requires collaboration, so it’s important that candidates can demonstrate how they can motivate others to come up with the best solutions and work with them to help develop and implement solutions. 

Problem-solving skills enable you to find candidates who are cognitively equipped to handle anything their jobs throw at them.

Problem solvers can observe, judge, and act quickly when difficulties arise when they inevitably do. Moreover, they are not afraid of the unknown, which is invaluable to employers who rely on their employees to identify and solve problems. 

Why are problem solving skills important?

There are several important benefits of problem-solving skills in the workplace. Below, we’ll go through five of the most significant ones that all problem solvers can bring to their roles and workplaces: 

1. Ability to organize their time intelligently 

Time management skills can often be underlooked as one of the benefits of problem-solving skills in the workplace. 

However, those with problem-solving abilities also typically possess stellar time-management skills. The ability to manage their time wisely and laser-focus on what’s important to the business will lead to better decision-making and business impact. 

2. Ability to prioritize, plan, and execute strategies

Problem solvers have no issue with carefully assessing customer and business needs and deciding how to prioritize, plan, and execute strategies to meet them. They can manage all moving parts and strategize to meet multiple unique demands.

3. Ability to think outside the box

Problem solvers can often identify hidden opportunities in problems. Thinking outside of the box is an important problem-solving skill in the workplace, because it can often lead to better outcomes than the originally expected ones. 

4. Ability to work under pressure

This is often one of the most important benefits of problem-solving skills in the workplace. Problem solvers often work well under pressure, for example when dealing with short deadlines and changing project requirements.

Depending on your workplace culture, you might prefer someone who can deliver quick solutions or someone who takes their time to identify the next steps. Both are valid and important problem solving qualities. 

5. Ability to address risk

Planning is an important problem-solving skill. Problem solvers are not just equipped to deal with the problem at hand but are also able to anticipate problems that will arise in the future based on trends, patterns, experience, and current events.

Let’s now look at some specific examples of problems that could arise at the workplace – at any workplace, really – and how employees’ problem solving skills can help address each issue. 

Below, you’ll find five typical scenarios where problem solving skills are essential.

Conflict between team members

Poor team dynamics or lack of a collaborative spirit might result in frequent workplace conflicts – especially within larger teams.

For example, members of cross-functional teams might disagree on the way they should address a particular issue or even on the priority they should give to it. 

How problem solving skills can help: 

Teamwork is essential when solving conflict – and a cornerstone of effective cross-functional team leadership .

For this, coworkers need to share a common understanding of the team’s goals and also be willing to work towards achieving them, even when they disagree on the specific approaches to each goal.  The ability to understand others’ perspectives, analyze information critically, and come up with a few different solutions is key to finding a common ground and making progress on the team’s objectives.

Inefficient processes

Outdated, inefficient processes can reduce productivity and frustrate employees.

Multi-step approval processes are a typical example of this. Having multiple layers of approval for routine decisions can significantly slow down team progress and lead to missed opportunities.

Analytical thinking skills are key in identifying inefficiencies and building better procedures. Employees or team leads can build flowcharts that speed up decision making without having to ask a supervisor’s permission at every step of the process. 

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why is problem solving important for leaders

Poor communication can lead to misunderstandings and lack of clarity and direction – which, in turn, can be detrimental to team performance. 

For example, if you’re a remote-first company, maintaining clear and effective remote communication can be challenging. 

The over-reliance on emails and messaging apps might make it feel like teams are communicating effectively and are always connected. However, the lack of non-verbal cues and face-to-face interactions might make it more difficult to build rapport and a positive workplace culture .

Listening skills are essential to solving communication issues – and good listeners are often excellent at solving problems by recognizing, understanding, and acknowledging others’ points of view. 

One-on-one meetings enable people to communicate more freely and effectively and solve challenges together, so consider encouraging team members to hop on a call each time they encounter a difficult challenge.

Additionally, you can help employees bond with each other with some remote team building activities to improve team cohesion. Plus, problem solving challenges can be excellent team building exercises.

Technological disruptions 

New technologies often disrupt the usual ways of doing things – and sometimes, this can be disruptive for entire teams’ work. 

For example, generative AI and automation technologies have revolutionized numerous types of work, including data analysis, marketing, customer service, and even content creation.

Creative thinking and cognitive flexibility are among the top 10 most important skills of the future , according to the World Economic Forum. Both are essential for adopting new technologies successfully – and finding ways to make the most out of each new tool to improve productivity. 

Insufficient onboarding resources 

Team members may struggle to do their best work if they haven't received proper training or resources.

For example, start-ups that experience rapid growth might hire a few employees at once – or even entire teams. 

If they fail to allocate sufficient time and resources to onboarding new hires, this might lead to lost productivity, a lacking sense of belonging, or increased turnover. That’s true not only for junior employees but also for newly hired senior leaders , as the Harvard Business Review points out.

Your leadership team’s analytical and decision-making skills are crucial in enabling them to distribute limited resources in a way that would give their teams the best chances of success. 

To build a solid onboarding process , you need leaders who are able to take ownership of it – and who have the right problem-solving skills.

Many organizations use problem-solving interview questions to identify the right candidates for their job openings. However, the most effective way to assess problem-solving skills is with pre-employment skills assessments . 

That’s because skills tests provide an objective way to quantify a candidate’s problem-solving skills in a way that isn’t possible during an interview.

How problem solving skills tests work

Tests like TestGorilla’s problem-solving skills test assist organizations in finding candidates who are able to quickly identify the key elements of the problem and work through the problem at speed without making mistakes. 

By presenting candidates with a wide range of questions related to typical problem-solving scenarios, hiring teams can rank their candidates based on an intensive assessment of each candidate’s skill level.

The test specifically evaluates whether a candidate can perform problem-solving tasks like:

Creating and adjust schedules

Prioritizing items based on a given set of rules

Interpreting data and applying logic to make decisions

Analyzing textual and numerical information to draw conclusions

As you can see, even the best interviewer would have trouble assessing each of these skill areas while still covering all the other questions that they need to ask. 

If you’re convinced of the importance of problem-solving skills in the workplace and want to build a team of employees that can think independently and solve their own problems without constant supervision, assess problem-solving skills during the hiring process. 

Problem-solving skills tests like ours are an excellent way to achieve this – especially if you combine them with other skills tests. Check out our extensive test library for other tests you can use in your talent assessment process to hire the best talent. 

Sign up for our free plan to start building your first assessment – or schedule a demo with one of our experts to see how to evaluate applicants’ problem solving skills quickly, efficiently, and without bias. 

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Effective problem solving is one of the key attributes that separate great leaders from average ones

Top 10 Most Influential People in Leadership Consulting, 2022

why is problem solving important for leaders

Leadership consulting makes use of several strategies to accomplish the desired goal. A mentoring program may be implemented to allow department heads and supervisors to learn more about the management techniques used by upper-level managers. Today’s leadership responsibilities and roles aren’t limited to delegating and management. Instead, when it comes to effective leadership, problem-solving is not only an important skill but a crucial role for leaders to take on.

Problems are inevitable in the workplace, so developing problem-solving skills is helpful for management to learn how to identify problems as they arise and determine effective solutions. Studying different methods for problem-solving can help leaders prevent and approach difficult situations in a positive, relevant, and successful manner.

Understanding Problem-Solving: A problem well stated is a problem half solved

As a leader, you need to approach problem-solving as an opportunity, with a broad perspective and a calm demeanor. And, you’ll want to arm yourself with a few critical approaches to hone your problem-solving skills. Understanding your problem is half the solution.

Learning how to break down and solve complex problems is a core skill you need in today’s business world. A leader must never view a problem as a distraction, but rather as a strategic enabler for continuous improvement and opportunities previously unseen. Management demands action, not talk and collaborative analysis. Especially the kind of meetings that involves debate and discussion are seen as “just talk”. This is understandable considering the number of meaningless meetings most people experience, but debates and discussions are necessary to create a shared understanding of a problem.

Basic steps in problem-solving

  • Build trust with your team so they feel comfortable talking to you if they’re struggling with a problem. If they’re concerned about repercussions from you, they may avoid sharing it with you.
  •  Because you’re already good at solving problems, you also may be tempted to solve them for your team. Instead, avoid the impulse to do it for them and work with them to address problems, along the way building their capability to do it themselves. Problems get solved better and faster at the lowest level possible, so work with people to develop problem-solving skills.
  •  As you grow as a leader, the size of your problems will grow too. It’s critical to continue to develop your process, ask the right questions, and get all the facts to find the best solutions.

Tips for Effective Problem-Solving

You’ll be able to solve problems in your role better as you grow in your industry-specific knowledge. Whether you are a leader for a large corporation or a small business owner, here are some effective ways to solve problems.

  • Transparent Communication
  • Be Open-minded To People
  • Build A Solid Foundational Strategy
  • Defining the Problem:  In almost every problem-solving methodology the first step is defining or identifying the problem. It is the most difficult and the most important of all the steps. It involves diagnosing the situation so that the focus is on the real problem and not on its symptoms. Deeply understanding a problem through research, leads to better solutions. Research can include interviewing, reading books and emails, analyzing financial data, searching your organization’s intranet, and organizing your findings.
  • Brainstorming:  Creating a myriad of new solutions quickly. In group brainstorms, allow everyone to state ideas. Brainstorming combines a relaxed, informal approach to problem-solving with lateral thinking. It encourages people to come up with thoughts and ideas that can, at first, seem a bit crazy. Some of these ideas can be crafted into original, creative solutions to a problem, while others can spark even more ideas. Appreciate all input, and avoid criticism. Then, organize solutions into groups around common themes.
  • Analyzing:  Using disciplined thought processes to evaluate each possible solution. The ability to examine information or a situation in detail to identify key or important elements, their strengths, and weaknesses and use these to compile a persuasive argument, make recommendations or solve a problem.
  • Managing Risk:  Risk management in problem-solving is a critical skill required for construction and effective leadership at all levels. Anticipating and trying to avoid the downsides of key solutions. Your team can list potential risks, rate how likely each is, predict a date by which each might either happen or no longer be an issue, and think of ways to reduce those risks. Once risks have been identified, along with their likelihood and their impact on a situation or the organization, it must then be decided as to what the best way to manage each is.
  • Deciding:  Decision-making skills are important because they can help you to navigate a variety of situations that might come up at work. The ability to decide on a solution and move forward with it. After an appropriate amount of time, an analysis of possible solutions, and feedback from team members, a designated decider must choose and implement a solution.
  • Managing Emotions:  Emotional intelligence is all about how well you understand your own emotions and the emotions of others, and the ability to identify and manage them. Applying emotional intelligence to improve your and your team members’ ability to think clearly. This requires you to recognize emotions in yourself and others, manage feelings, and channel emotions into useful work.


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  1. Why Problem-Solving Skills Are Essential for Leaders

    Here's a primer on problem-solving in business, why it's important, the skills you need, and how to build them.

  2. Why is Problem Solving Important for Leaders

    Today's leadership responsibilities and roles aren't limited to delegating and management. Instead, when it comes to effective leadership, problem solving is not only an important skill, but a crucial role for leaders to take on.

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  8. Why are problem solving skills essential for leadership?

    Effective problem solving skills. Sometimes the ability senior executives have is to solve problems quickly - reaching the same conclusion other people would make, given all the relevant information, but in a fraction of the time. This can give their organisation the edge in business, as it can be more responsive and agile, and able to act ...

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  10. 6 Problem Solving Skills For Excellent Leaders

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  11. The Importance Of Problem Solving In Leadership Roles

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  12. How to improve conceptual skills

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  14. The Importance of Problem-Solving Skills in the Workplace

    Problem-solving skills are important when you have to address a risk. Sharpen your problem-solving skills to anticipate future events better and increase the awareness of cause-and-effect relationships. This enables you to take the right actions and influence the outcomes if issues do occur.

  15. 4 Reasons Why Problem-Solving Skills Are Essential for Leaders

    Discover why problem-solving is key for business leaders. Learn how it drives decision-making, innovation, team dynamics, and resilience. Read more now!

  16. Problem Solving Ability

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  17. 7 Problem-Solving Skills That Can Help You Be a More ...

    Discover what problem-solving is, and why it's important for managers. Understand the steps of the process and learn about seven problem-solving skills.

  18. The Importance of Problem-Solving Skills in Organizations

    Instead of being granted a leadership role by a higher-up, problem-solving leaders take the initiative to solve the organization's most pressing problems. Then, as they work to solve the problem, they encourage others to do the same, causing people to naturally rally around them. According to Harvard Business Review, these leaders rarely ...

  19. Leaders Can Use These Nine Skills to Become Better Problem-Solvers

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  20. How to Solve Problems Like a Leader

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  22. The Importance of Problem Solving Skills in the Workplace

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  23. Effective problem solving is one of the key attributes that separate

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