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Overview of the Problem-Solving Mental Process

Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

what is lacking in rommel problem solving skill brainly

Rachel Goldman, PhD FTOS, is a licensed psychologist, clinical assistant professor, speaker, wellness expert specializing in eating behaviors, stress management, and health behavior change.

what is lacking in rommel problem solving skill brainly

  • Identify the Problem
  • Define the Problem
  • Form a Strategy
  • Organize Information
  • Allocate Resources
  • Monitor Progress
  • Evaluate the Results

Frequently Asked Questions

Problem-solving is a mental process that involves discovering, analyzing, and solving problems. The ultimate goal of problem-solving is to overcome obstacles and find a solution that best resolves the issue.

The best strategy for solving a problem depends largely on the unique situation. In some cases, people are better off learning everything they can about the issue and then using factual knowledge to come up with a solution. In other instances, creativity and insight are the best options.

It is not necessary to follow problem-solving steps sequentially, It is common to skip steps or even go back through steps multiple times until the desired solution is reached.

In order to correctly solve a problem, it is often important to follow a series of steps. Researchers sometimes refer to this as the problem-solving cycle. While this cycle is portrayed sequentially, people rarely follow a rigid series of steps to find a solution.

The following steps include developing strategies and organizing knowledge.

1. Identifying the Problem

While it may seem like an obvious step, identifying the problem is not always as simple as it sounds. In some cases, people might mistakenly identify the wrong source of a problem, which will make attempts to solve it inefficient or even useless.

Some strategies that you might use to figure out the source of a problem include :

  • Asking questions about the problem
  • Breaking the problem down into smaller pieces
  • Looking at the problem from different perspectives
  • Conducting research to figure out what relationships exist between different variables

2. Defining the Problem

After the problem has been identified, it is important to fully define the problem so that it can be solved. You can define a problem by operationally defining each aspect of the problem and setting goals for what aspects of the problem you will address

At this point, you should focus on figuring out which aspects of the problems are facts and which are opinions. State the problem clearly and identify the scope of the solution.

3. Forming a Strategy

After the problem has been identified, it is time to start brainstorming potential solutions. This step usually involves generating as many ideas as possible without judging their quality. Once several possibilities have been generated, they can be evaluated and narrowed down.

The next step is to develop a strategy to solve the problem. The approach used will vary depending upon the situation and the individual's unique preferences. Common problem-solving strategies include heuristics and algorithms.

  • Heuristics are mental shortcuts that are often based on solutions that have worked in the past. They can work well if the problem is similar to something you have encountered before and are often the best choice if you need a fast solution.
  • Algorithms are step-by-step strategies that are guaranteed to produce a correct result. While this approach is great for accuracy, it can also consume time and resources.

Heuristics are often best used when time is of the essence, while algorithms are a better choice when a decision needs to be as accurate as possible.

4. Organizing Information

Before coming up with a solution, you need to first organize the available information. What do you know about the problem? What do you not know? The more information that is available the better prepared you will be to come up with an accurate solution.

When approaching a problem, it is important to make sure that you have all the data you need. Making a decision without adequate information can lead to biased or inaccurate results.

5. Allocating Resources

Of course, we don't always have unlimited money, time, and other resources to solve a problem. Before you begin to solve a problem, you need to determine how high priority it is.

If it is an important problem, it is probably worth allocating more resources to solving it. If, however, it is a fairly unimportant problem, then you do not want to spend too much of your available resources on coming up with a solution.

At this stage, it is important to consider all of the factors that might affect the problem at hand. This includes looking at the available resources, deadlines that need to be met, and any possible risks involved in each solution. After careful evaluation, a decision can be made about which solution to pursue.

6. Monitoring Progress

After selecting a problem-solving strategy, it is time to put the plan into action and see if it works. This step might involve trying out different solutions to see which one is the most effective.

It is also important to monitor the situation after implementing a solution to ensure that the problem has been solved and that no new problems have arisen as a result of the proposed solution.

Effective problem-solvers tend to monitor their progress as they work towards a solution. If they are not making good progress toward reaching their goal, they will reevaluate their approach or look for new strategies .

7. Evaluating the Results

After a solution has been reached, it is important to evaluate the results to determine if it is the best possible solution to the problem. This evaluation might be immediate, such as checking the results of a math problem to ensure the answer is correct, or it can be delayed, such as evaluating the success of a therapy program after several months of treatment.

Once a problem has been solved, it is important to take some time to reflect on the process that was used and evaluate the results. This will help you to improve your problem-solving skills and become more efficient at solving future problems.

A Word From Verywell​

It is important to remember that there are many different problem-solving processes with different steps, and this is just one example. Problem-solving in real-world situations requires a great deal of resourcefulness, flexibility, resilience, and continuous interaction with the environment.

Get Advice From The Verywell Mind Podcast

Hosted by therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast shares how you can stop dwelling in a negative mindset.

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You can become a better problem solving by:

  • Practicing brainstorming and coming up with multiple potential solutions to problems
  • Being open-minded and considering all possible options before making a decision
  • Breaking down problems into smaller, more manageable pieces
  • Asking for help when needed
  • Researching different problem-solving techniques and trying out new ones
  • Learning from mistakes and using them as opportunities to grow

It's important to communicate openly and honestly with your partner about what's going on. Try to see things from their perspective as well as your own. Work together to find a resolution that works for both of you. Be willing to compromise and accept that there may not be a perfect solution.

Take breaks if things are getting too heated, and come back to the problem when you feel calm and collected. Don't try to fix every problem on your own—consider asking a therapist or counselor for help and insight.

If you've tried everything and there doesn't seem to be a way to fix the problem, you may have to learn to accept it. This can be difficult, but try to focus on the positive aspects of your life and remember that every situation is temporary. Don't dwell on what's going wrong—instead, think about what's going right. Find support by talking to friends or family. Seek professional help if you're having trouble coping.

Davidson JE, Sternberg RJ, editors.  The Psychology of Problem Solving .  Cambridge University Press; 2003. doi:10.1017/CBO9780511615771

Sarathy V. Real world problem-solving .  Front Hum Neurosci . 2018;12:261. Published 2018 Jun 26. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2018.00261

By Kendra Cherry, MSEd Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

what is lacking in rommel problem solving skill brainly

Are Your Problem-Solving Skills Lacking? Try This New Approach

April 22, 2021

Problem Solving the golden retriever approach

Approaches To Problem-Solving

I appreciate a good mechanic. When something goes wrong with my old truck, I take it to Todd. Todd manages to fix impossible problems. Once, he manufactured a part because no new parts were available. I enjoy working with Todd because he is very good at fixing the tough problems I bring to him. Occasionally, I bring a problem to him, and he says, “You don’t want to spend the money to fix that; it’s not worth it!” Many leaders work like Todd; they wait for others to bring them problems, and then they fix the problem.

I also appreciate Golden Retrievers, although I have never owned one. When my brothers and I grew old enough to go pheasant hunting, we only owned one shotgun. It was a 12-gauge single shot, which means that you had one chance to hit your target. Since we did not own a dog, we decided that whoever had the gun was the hunter, and the other two were the dogs. The dogs’ jobs were to flush out the pheasants. I cannot remember ever bringing home a pheasant, but we did have fun. Unlike my brothers, Golden Retrievers can sniff out a pheasant, point to them so the hunter can get ready, and then flush them out. Many leaders are a lot like Golden Retrievers in terms of solving problems. They are constantly looking for what could go wrong. They take time to anticipate problems before they happen.

I wanted to analyze some 360 feedback data to determine who was a more effective leader. Was it the problem solver or the problem anticipator? I identified leaders who had strengths and weaknesses in both traits and used the following criteria to classify each leader.

Characteristics of Problem-Solving Leaders

  • Tend to start projects quickly and then resolve problems when they arise.
  • Are skilled at spotting problems and fixing them.
  • Do a good job every day and fix immediate problems and concerns.
  • Tend to react to the present.
  • Focus their efforts on work that needs to be done today.

Characteristics of Problem-Anticipating Leaders

  • Are effective at anticipating potential problems or things that could go wrong.
  • Tend to see trends and patterns in what they and others are doing.
  • Prefer to take the long view and focus on the future.
  • Like to anticipate the future.
  • Are skilled at identifying changes that need to be made.

Using a dataset of 360-degree feedback reports from 110,460 leaders, I classified leaders who were in the top and bottom quartiles on both characteristics. I also identified two outcome variables I was interested in examining. Overall leadership effectiveness (the average of 60 behaviors found to differentiate poor from great leaders) and a confidence rating by direct reports. The confidence rating was an item asked of all direct reports where they indicated the extent to which they agree or disagree with the statement, “I have confidence that this organization will achieve its strategic objectives.” Since not all leaders had direct reports, the number of leaders analyzed on the confidence outcome was 97,851 leaders.

The graph below shows the results comparing groups in the bottom quartile and the top quartile on problem-solving and anticipating. Groups with bottom quartile scores in both dimensions were only rated at the 14 th percentile on their overall leadership effectiveness. Note that problem-solving ability has twice as much impact on overall leadership effectiveness as top-quartile skills at anticipating problems, but the combination of both skills propels leaders into the 87 th percentile.

Leadership skill- Problem Solving

Check out the latest episodes of  The 90th Percentile: An Unconventional Leadership Podcast. 

In this second study, I looked at the 97,851 leaders with direct reports. Ratings for anticipation and problem-solving were also only based on data gathered from each leader’s direct reports. The combination of these skills impacted the level of confidence direct reports had in achieving their organizations’ strategic goals.

Leadership Skill- Problem Solving/Anticipating

Problem Solving is an Essential Skill

In another study, over 1.5 million raters were asked to select the top 4 most important competencies based on 19 different competencies. The number two skill rated as most important was solving problems and analyzing issues.

A day of work is often a day of solving one problem after another. Leaders frequently put themselves in the mechanic role—waiting for others to bring them problems rather than getting ahead of the issues by anticipating them before they occur. The leaders who effectively anticipate problems avoid fire drills and stress. If you are a skillful problem solver, take some time to think about and anticipate problems that may occur. The data is compelling that combining these two skills can be a powerful combination to improve your leadership effectiveness and the confidence of your direct reports in the business’s success.

Learn more about problem-solving by registering for this month’s leadership webinar .

-Joe Folkman

Connect with Joe Folkman on LinkedIn , Twitter ,  or Facebook .

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What Are Problem-Solving Skills and Why Do They Matter?

Problem-solving skills are the ability to identify challenges, analyze them, and develop effective solutions. These skills are crucial not only in professional environments but also in everyday life situations. Whether it’s overcoming obstacles at work, resolving conflicts in relationships, or tackling complex issues, honing problem-solving skills can lead to more efficient and successful outcomes.

Understanding the Essence of Problem-Solving Skills

At the core of problem-solving skills lies a set of cognitive processes that enable individuals to navigate through challenges. These processes include critical thinking, creativity, decision-making, and analytical reasoning. Problem-solving also involves various approaches, such as trial and error, deductive reasoning, and lateral thinking.

The Significance of Problem-Solving Skills

In both personal and professional contexts, individuals with strong problem-solving abilities tend to excel. They can adapt to changing circumstances, make informed decisions, and resolve conflicts effectively. Employers value employees who can identify problems, propose solutions, and implement them efficiently, contributing to organizational success.

Vati is your ultimate career planning and assessment platform , designed to empower individuals in navigating their professional journey with confidence. for developing essential problem-solving skills. Through interactive modules, real-world scenarios, and expert guidance, Vati empowers users to enhance their critical thinking, decision-making, and analytical abilities. Whether in personal or professional settings, Vati equips individuals with the tools needed to tackle challenges with confidence and efficiency.

Vati offers insights, examples, and techniques to empower individuals in navigating life’s challenges effectively and efficiently.

How to Enhance Your Problem-Solving Skills


Improving problem-solving skills is a continuous process that involves several steps:

  • Identify the Problem: Clearly define the issue or challenge you are facing.
  • Gather Relevant Information: Collect data and facts necessary to understand the problem fully.
  • Generate Potential Solutions: Brainstorm various approaches or strategies to address the problem.
  • Evaluate and Select the Best Solution: Assess the pros and cons of each solution and choose the most suitable one.
  • Implement the Solution: Put your chosen solution into action, considering practical constraints and resources.
  • Reflect on the Outcome: Analyze the results of your actions and identify lessons learned for future reference.

Practical Strategies for Improving Problem-Solving Skills

To enhance your problem-solving abilities, consider the following strategies:

  • Practice Critical Thinking : Engage in activities that require logical reasoning and analysis.
  • Engage in Brainstorming Sessions: Collaborate with others to generate creative solutions to complex problems.
  • Seek Feedback and Learn from Mistakes: Embrace constructive criticism and use failures as opportunities for growth.
  • Embrace Challenges and Setbacks: View obstacles as learning opportunities and remain resilient in the face of adversity.

Examples of Problem-Solving Skills in Action

In the workplace, problem-solving skills are demonstrated through:

  • Resolving conflicts among team members.
  • Developing innovative solutions to increase efficiency.
  • Handling customer complaints and finding satisfactory resolutions.

In everyday life, problem-solving skills are showcased when:

  • Planning and organizing tasks to meet deadlines.
  • Negotiating compromises in interpersonal relationships.
  • Finding alternative routes to reach a destination during unexpected road closures.

What are the 7 Problem-Solving Techniques?

  • Define the Problem: Clearly articulate the issue or challenge you are facing.
  • Brainstorm Solutions: Generate as many potential solutions as possible without judgment.
  • Evaluate Options: Assess the feasibility and effectiveness of each solution.
  • Choose the Best Solution: Select the most suitable option based on the evaluation.
  • Implement the Solution: Put the chosen solution into action.
  • Monitor Progress: Track the implementation process and make adjustments as needed.
  • Reflect and Learn from the Process: Analyze the outcomes and identify areas for improvement.

In conclusion, problem-solving skills are indispensable assets that empower individuals to navigate through life’s challenges with confidence and efficiency. By honing these skills through practice, reflection, and continuous learning , individuals can unlock their full potential and achieve success in various aspects of their lives.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. How can problem-solving skills benefit me in my career?

Problem-solving skills are highly valued by employers as they enable individuals to tackle complex challenges, make informed decisions, and contribute to organizational success.

2. Can problem-solving skills be learned, or are they innate?

While some people may have a natural inclination towards problem-solving, these skills can be developed and refined through practice, experience, and learning from mistakes.

3. What role does creativity play in problem-solving?

Creativity is essential in problem-solving as it allows individuals to think outside the box, generate innovative solutions, and approach challenges from different perspectives.

4. How can I assess my problem-solving skills?

You can assess your problem-solving skills by reflecting on past experiences, seeking feedback from others, and actively engaging in problem-solving activities.

5. Are there specific industries where problem-solving skills are particularly crucial?

Problem-solving skills are valuable in virtually every industry, including business, healthcare, education, technology, and government, as they enable individuals to address diverse challenges and seize opportunities for growth and innovation.

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Problem Solving: What Skills Are Really Involved?

Teaching Problem Solving Skills

May 10, 2005, by The Critical Thinking Co. Staff

From learning to zip up a jacket to acing the SATs, problem solving is a skill that can never be learned too early and never stops being useful. Problem solving cannot be accurately described as a single skill, though; rather it is a complex set of skills that work together. Problem solving involves logic, associative reasoning, creative thinking, and deductive reasoning to move from a set of given principles or circumstances to the desired result.

Learning problem solving should start early in life so that the mind creates the appropriate pathways and builds a catalog of associations and knowledge that can be built upon later. The Critical Thinking Co. has developed a number of products to help young children learn problem solving skills before they even start Kindergarten. These tools use fun puzzles, riddles, and stories to start kids thinking critically and creatively.

Problem solving becomes even more crucial as math and science classes start getting progressively harder. For students who have not been exposed to much problem solving preparation, this is the time that they must start receiving the proper training. Though the explosive development of early childhood has passed, kids in their teens are still quite capable of rapidly developing problem solving and critical thinking skills.

Critical Thinking products are based on education, not on age. It is never too late to start thinking critically and developing strong analytical habits--though the longer you wait the harder it gets. Critical thinking is useful in any field of endeavor because it serves to create a deeper understanding of the subject matter or task at hand. Critical thinking and problem solving are intimately linked because they both require active participation and mental agility.

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A guide to problem-solving techniques, steps, and skills

what is lacking in rommel problem solving skill brainly

You might associate problem-solving with the math exercises that a seven-year-old would do at school. But problem-solving isn’t just about math — it’s a crucial skill that helps everyone make better decisions in everyday life or work.

A guide to problem-solving techniques, steps, and skills

Problem-solving involves finding effective solutions to address complex challenges, in any context they may arise.

Unfortunately, structured and systematic problem-solving methods aren’t commonly taught. Instead, when solving a problem, PMs tend to rely heavily on intuition. While for simple issues this might work well, solving a complex problem with a straightforward solution is often ineffective and can even create more problems.

In this article, you’ll learn a framework for approaching problem-solving, alongside how you can improve your problem-solving skills.

The 7 steps to problem-solving

When it comes to problem-solving there are seven key steps that you should follow: define the problem, disaggregate, prioritize problem branches, create an analysis plan, conduct analysis, synthesis, and communication.

1. Define the problem

Problem-solving begins with a clear understanding of the issue at hand. Without a well-defined problem statement, confusion and misunderstandings can hinder progress. It’s crucial to ensure that the problem statement is outcome-focused, specific, measurable whenever possible, and time-bound.

Additionally, aligning the problem definition with relevant stakeholders and decision-makers is essential to ensure efforts are directed towards addressing the actual problem rather than side issues.

2. Disaggregate

Complex issues often require deeper analysis. Instead of tackling the entire problem at once, the next step is to break it down into smaller, more manageable components.

Various types of logic trees (also known as issue trees or decision trees) can be used to break down the problem. At each stage where new branches are created, it’s important for them to be “MECE” – mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive. This process of breaking down continues until manageable components are identified, allowing for individual examination.

The decomposition of the problem demands looking at the problem from various perspectives. That is why collaboration within a team often yields more valuable results, as diverse viewpoints lead to a richer pool of ideas and solutions.

3. Prioritize problem branches

The next step involves prioritization. Not all branches of the problem tree have the same impact, so it’s important to understand the significance of each and focus attention on the most impactful areas. Prioritizing helps streamline efforts and minimize the time required to solve the problem.

what is lacking in rommel problem solving skill brainly

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what is lacking in rommel problem solving skill brainly

4. Create an analysis plan

For prioritized components, you may need to conduct in-depth analysis. Before proceeding, a work plan is created for data gathering and analysis. If work is conducted within a team, having a plan provides guidance on what needs to be achieved, who is responsible for which tasks, and the timelines involved.

5. Conduct analysis

Data gathering and analysis are central to the problem-solving process. It’s a good practice to set time limits for this phase to prevent excessive time spent on perfecting details. You can employ heuristics and rule-of-thumb reasoning to improve efficiency and direct efforts towards the most impactful work.

6. Synthesis

After each individual branch component has been researched, the problem isn’t solved yet. The next step is synthesizing the data logically to address the initial question. The synthesis process and the logical relationship between the individual branch results depend on the logic tree used.

7. Communication

The last step is communicating the story and the solution of the problem to the stakeholders and decision-makers. Clear effective communication is necessary to build trust in the solution and facilitates understanding among all parties involved. It ensures that stakeholders grasp the intricacies of the problem and the proposed solution, leading to informed decision-making.

Exploring problem-solving in various contexts

While problem-solving has traditionally been associated with fields like engineering and science, today it has become a fundamental skill for individuals across all professions. In fact, problem-solving consistently ranks as one of the top skills required by employers.

Problem-solving techniques can be applied in diverse contexts:

  • Individuals — What career path should I choose? Where should I live? These are examples of simple and common personal challenges that require effective problem-solving skills
  • Organizations — Businesses also face many decisions that are not trivial to answer. Should we expand into new markets this year? How can we enhance the quality of our product development? Will our office accommodate the upcoming year’s growth in terms of capacity?
  • Societal issues — The biggest world challenges are also complex problems that can be addressed with the same technique. How can we minimize the impact of climate change? How do we fight cancer?

Despite the variation in domains and contexts, the fundamental approach to solving these questions remains the same. It starts with gaining a clear understanding of the problem, followed by decomposition, conducting analysis of the decomposed branches, and synthesizing it into a result that answers the initial problem.

Real-world examples of problem-solving

Let’s now explore some examples where we can apply the problem solving framework.

Problem: In the production of electronic devices, you observe an increasing number of defects. How can you reduce the error rate and improve the quality?

Electric Devices

Before delving into analysis, you can deprioritize branches that you already have information for or ones you deem less important. For instance, while transportation delays may occur, the resulting material degradation is likely negligible. For other branches, additional research and data gathering may be necessary.

Once results are obtained, synthesis is crucial to address the core question: How can you decrease the defect rate?

While all factors listed may play a role, their significance varies. Your task is to prioritize effectively. Through data analysis, you may discover that altering the equipment would bring the most substantial positive outcome. However, executing a solution isn’t always straightforward. In prioritizing, you should consider both the potential impact and the level of effort needed for implementation.

By evaluating impact and effort, you can systematically prioritize areas for improvement, focusing on those with high impact and requiring minimal effort to address. This approach ensures efficient allocation of resources towards improvements that offer the greatest return on investment.

Problem : What should be my next job role?

Next Job

When breaking down this problem, you need to consider various factors that are important for your future happiness in the role. This includes aspects like the company culture, our interest in the work itself, and the lifestyle that you can afford with the role.

However, not all factors carry the same weight for us. To make sense of the results, we can assign a weight factor to each branch. For instance, passion for the job role may have a weight factor of 1, while interest in the industry may have a weight factor of 0.5, because that is less important for you.

By applying these weights to a specific role and summing the values, you can have an estimate of how suitable that role is for you. Moreover, you can compare two roles and make an informed decision based on these weighted indicators.

Key problem-solving skills

This framework provides the foundation and guidance needed to effectively solve problems. However, successfully applying this framework requires the following:

  • Creativity — During the decomposition phase, it’s essential to approach the problem from various perspectives and think outside the box to generate innovative ideas for breaking down the problem tree
  • Decision-making — Throughout the process, decisions must be made, even when full confidence is lacking. Employing rules of thumb to simplify analysis or selecting one tree cut over another requires decisiveness and comfort with choices made
  • Analytical skills — Analytical and research skills are necessary for the phase following decomposition, involving data gathering and analysis on selected tree branches
  • Teamwork — Collaboration and teamwork are crucial when working within a team setting. Solving problems effectively often requires collective effort and shared responsibility
  • Communication — Clear and structured communication is essential to convey the problem solution to stakeholders and decision-makers and build trust

How to enhance your problem-solving skills

Problem-solving requires practice and a certain mindset. The more you practice, the easier it becomes. Here are some strategies to enhance your skills:

  • Practice structured thinking in your daily life — Break down problems or questions into manageable parts. You don’t need to go through the entire problem-solving process and conduct detailed analysis. When conveying a message, simplify the conversation by breaking the message into smaller, more understandable segments
  • Regularly challenging yourself with games and puzzles — Solving puzzles, riddles, or strategy games can boost your problem-solving skills and cognitive agility.
  • Engage with individuals from diverse backgrounds and viewpoints — Conversing with people who offer different perspectives provides fresh insights and alternative solutions to problems. This boosts creativity and helps in approaching challenges from new angles

Final thoughts

Problem-solving extends far beyond mathematics or scientific fields; it’s a critical skill for making informed decisions in every area of life and work. The seven-step framework presented here provides a systematic approach to problem-solving, relevant across various domains.

Now, consider this: What’s one question currently on your mind? Grab a piece of paper and try to apply the problem-solving framework. You might uncover fresh insights you hadn’t considered before.

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7 Problem Solving Skills That Aren’t Just Buzzwords (+ Resume Example)

  • Julia Mlcuchova , 
  • Updated April 8, 2024 9 min read

Problem-solving skills are something everybody should include on their resume, yet only a few seem to understand what these skills actually are. If you've always felt that the term "problem-solving skills" is rather vague and wanted to know more, you've come to the right place.

In this article, we're going to explain what problem-solving skills really mean. We'll talk about what makes up good problem-solving skills and give you tips on how to get better at them. You'll also find out how to make your problem-solving abilities look more impressive to those who might want to hire you.

Sounds good, right? Curious to learn more? 

In this article we’ll show you:

  • What are problem solving skills;
  • Why are they important; 
  • Specific problem solving skills examples;
  • How to develop your problem solving skills;
  • And, how to showcase them on your resume.

Table of Contents

Click on a section to skip

What are problem solving skills?

Why are problem solving skills important, the best 7 problem solving skills examples, how to develop problem solving skills, problem solving skills resume example, key takeaways: problem solving skills.

First of all, they're more than just a buzzword!

Problem-solving skills are a set of specific abilities that allow you to deal with unexpected situations in the workplace, whether it be job related or team related. 

It's a complex process that involves several “sub skills” or “sub steps,” namely:

  • Recognizing and identifying the issue at hand.
  • Breaking the problem down into smaller parts and analyzing how they relate to one another. 
  • Creating potential solutions to the problem, evaluating them and picking the best one.  
  • Applying the chosen solution and assessing its outcome. 
  • Learning from the whole process to deal with future problems more effectively. 

As you can see, it's not just about solving problems that are right in front of us, but also about predicting potential issues and being prepared to deal with them before they arise.  

Despite what you may believe, problem-solving skills aren't just for managers . 

Think about it this way: Why do employers hire employees in the first place? To solve problems for them!

And, as we all know, problems don't discriminate. In other words, it doesn't matter whether you're just an intern, an entry-level professional, or a seasoned veteran, you'll constantly face some kind of challenges. And the only difference is in how complex they will get.

This is also reflected in the way employers assess suitability of potential job candidates. 

In fact, research shows that the ability to deal with unexpected complications is prioritized by an overwhelming 60% of employers across all industries, making it one of the most compelling skills on your resume.

So, regardless of your job description or your career level, you're always expected to find solutions for problems, either independently or as a part of a team. 

And that's precisely what makes problem-solving skills so invaluable and universal ! 

Wondering how good is your resume?

Find out with our AI Resume Checker! Just upload your resume and see what can be improved.

As we've said before, problem-solving isn't really just one single skill. 

Instead, your ability to handle workplace issues with composure depends on several different “sub-skills”. 

So, which specific skills make an employee desirable even for the most demanding of recruiters? 

In no particular order, you should focus on these 7 skills : 

  • Analytical skills
  • Research skills
  • Critical thinking 
  • Decision-making
  • Collaboration
  • Having a growth mindset

Let's have a look at each of them in greater detail!

#1 Analytical skills

Firstly, to truly understand complex problems, you need to break them down into more manageable parts . Then, you observe them closely and ask yourself: “ Which parts work and which don't,” How do these parts contribute to the problem as a whole,” and "What exactly needs to be fixed?” In other words, you gather data , you study it, and compare it - all to pinpoint the cause of the issue as closely as possible.

#2 Research skills

Another priceless tool is your research skills (sometimes relying on just one source of information isn't enough). Besides, to make a truly informed decision , you'll have to dig a little deeper. Being a good researcher means looking for potential solutions to a problem in a wider context. For example: going through team reports, customer feedback, quarterly sales or current market trends.  

#3 Critical thinking

Every employer wants to hire people who can think critically. Yet, the ability to evaluate situations objectively and from different perspectives , is actually pretty hard to come by. But as long as you stay open-minded, inquisitive, and with a healthy dose of skepticism, you'll be able to assess situations based on facts and evidence more successfully. Plus, critical thinking comes in especially handy when you need to examine your own actions and processes. 

 #4 Creativity

Instead of following the old established processes that don't work anymore, you should feel comfortable thinking outside the box. The thing is, problems have a nasty habit of popping up unexpectedly and rapidly. And sometimes, you have to get creative in order to solve them fast. Especially those that have no precedence. But this requires a blend of intuition, industry knowledge, and quick thinking - a truly rare combination. 

#5 Decision-making

The analysis, research, and brainstorming are done. Now, you need to look at the possible solutions, and make the final decision (informed, of course). And not only that, you also have to stand by it ! Because once the train gets moving, there's no room for second guessing. Also, keep in mind that you need to be prepared to take responsibility for all decisions you make. That's no small feat! 

#6 Collaboration

Not every problem you encounter can be solved by yourself alone. And this is especially true when it comes to complex projects. So, being able to actively listen to your colleagues, take their ideas into account, and being respectful of their opinions enables you to solve problems together. Because every individual can offer a unique perspective and skill set. Yes, democracy is hard, but at the end of the day, it's teamwork that makes the corporate world go round. 

#7 Having a growth mindset

Let's be honest, no one wants their work to be riddled with problems. But facing constant challenges and changes is inevitable. And that can be scary! However, when you're able to see these situations as opportunities to grow instead of issues that hold you back, your problem solving skills reach new heights. And the employers know that too!

Now that we've shown you the value problem-solving skills can add to your resume, let's ask the all-important question: “How can I learn them?”

Well…you can't. At least not in the traditional sense of the word. 

Let us explain: Since problem-solving skills fall under the umbrella of soft skills , they can't be taught through formal education, unlike computer skills for example. There's no university course that you can take and graduate as a professional problem solver. 

But, just like other interpersonal skills, they can be nurtured and refined over time through practice and experience. 

Unfortunately, there's no one-size-fits-all approach, but the following tips can offer you inspiration on how to improve your problem solving skills:

  • Cultivate a growth mindset. Remember what we've said before? Your attitude towards obstacles is the first step to unlocking your problem-solving potential. 
  • Gain further knowledge in your specialized field. Secondly, it's a good idea to delve a little deeper into your chosen profession. Because the more you read on a subject, the easier it becomes to spot certain patterns and relations.  
  • Start with small steps. Don't attack the big questions straight away — you'll only set yourself up for failure. Instead, start with more straightforward tasks and work your way up to more complex problems. 
  • Break problems down into more digestible pieces. Complex issues are made up of smaller problems. And those can be further divided into even smaller problems, and so on. Until you're left with only the basics. 
  • Don't settle for a single solution. Instead, keep on exploring other possible answers.
  • Accept failure as a part of the learning process. Finally, don't let your failures discourage you. After all, you're bound to misstep a couple of times before you find your footing. Just keep on practicing. 

How to improve problem solving skills with online courses

While it’s true that formal education won’t turn you into a master problem solver, you can still hone your skills with courses and certifications offered by online learning platforms :

  • Analytical skills. You can sharpen your analytical skills with Data Analytics Basics for Everyone from IBM provided by edX (Free); or Decision Making and Analytical Thinking: Fortune 500 provided by Udemy ($21,74).
  • Creativity. And, to unlock your inner creative mind, you can try Creative Thinking: Techniques and Tools for Success from the Imperial College London provided by Coursera (Free).
  • Critical thinking. Try Introduction to Logic and Critical Thinking Specialization from Duke University provided by Coursera (Free); or Logical and Critical Thinking offered by The University of Auckland via FutureLearn.  
  • Decision-making. Or, you can learn how to become more confident when it's time to make a decision with Decision-Making Strategies and Executive Decision-Making both offered by LinkedIn Learning (1 month free trial).
  • Communication skills . Lastly, to improve your collaborative skills, check out Communicating for Influence and Impact online at University of Cambridge. 

The fact that everybody and their grandmothers put “ problem-solving skills ” on their CVs has turned the phrase into a cliche. 

But there's a way to incorporate these skills into your resume without sounding pretentious and empty. Below, we've prepared a mock-up resume that manages to do just that.

FYI, if you like this design, you can use the template to create your very own resume. Just click the red button and fill in your information (or let the AI do it for you).

Problem solving skills on resume example

This resume was written by our experienced resume writers specifically for this profession.

Why this example works?

  • Firstly, the job description itself is neatly organized into bullet points .  
  • Instead of simply listing soft skills in a skills section , you can incorporate them into the description of your work experience entry.  
  • Also, the language here isn't vague . This resume puts each problem-solving skill into a real-life context by detailing specific situations and obstacles. 
  • And, to highlight the impact of each skill on your previous job position, we recommend quantifying your results whenever possible. 
  • Finally, starting each bullet point with an action verb (in bold) makes you look more dynamic and proactive.

To sum it all up, problem-solving skills continue gaining popularity among employers and employees alike. And for a good reason!

Because of them, you can overcome any obstacles that stand in the way of your professional life more efficiently and systematically. 

In essence, problem-solving skills refer to the ability to recognize a challenge, identify its root cause, think of possible solutions , and then implement the most effective one. 

Believing that these skills are all the same would be a serious misconception. In reality, this term encompasses a variety of different abilities , including:

In short, understanding, developing, and showcasing these skills, can greatly boost your chances at getting noticed by the hiring managers. So, don't hesitate and start working on your problem-solving skills right now!

Julia has recently joined Kickresume as a career writer. From helping people with their English to get admitted to the uni of their dreams to advising them on how to succeed in the job market. It would seem that her career is on a steadfast trajectory. Julia holds a degree in Anglophone studies from Metropolitan University in Prague, where she also resides. Apart from creative writing and languages, she takes a keen interest in literature and theatre.

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