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Five steps to effective problem solving

As an office leader, it’s inevitable that at some point you’ll have to deal with conflicts and problems within the workplace.  Problem-solving training will help you to do so decisively, and with the minimum of long-term damage.  That’s why you should follow these five steps:

Identify the main issues.  As a first step, it’s important to identify the problem.  It’s also important that you take the time to work out the interests of everyone involved, and to understand their viewpoints and why they feel aggrieved.  The best solution is one that is satisfactory to everyone, and you can only achieve this when you know what everyone wants!

Take the time to list possible solutions.  The next step is to brainstorm as many different solutions to a problem as possible, preferably by involving everyone involved in the conflict.  In this way, people will feel that they’re a part of the decision-making process and are less likely to be confrontational if the pendulum doesn’t eventually swing down on their side.  Don’t, under any circumstances, automatically go with the first solution that falls into your head.

Evaluate all of the solutions Take the time to evaluate the different potential solutions with everyone involved.  Work out the advantages and disadvantages of each solution for each person.  Which one(s) will ultimately cause the least damage?

Pick the right solution(s).  One of the benefits of putting together a list of many different solutions is that, although many of them won’t be used, you may be able to combine a couple of them in order to achieve the best possible resolution.  If this isn’t the case, then you should have one main solution that not only resolves the issue but also minimises unhappiness amongst all the major parties involved.  Whilst those involved may have their own minor grievances, their involvement in the decision-making process will usually mean they’re more prepared to compromise than they would be if they’d just been told what to do.

Attend a course.  Like all business-related skills, your ability to negotiate tricky situations can be developed with help from experts in the field.  There are a wide variety of problem-solving courses available that can help you to increase your skills, all of them taught by genuine experts in the negotiation of tricky situations.

Find out more about training courses in Effective Problem Solving here

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