Find solutions, not problems

Find solutions, not problems

Adversity is part of life. Facing problems tests us, but ultimately helps us to grow. And how we chose to solve problems makes all the difference.

While this applies to almost every aspect of our lives, in this blog post, we are going to look at ways to find solutions for difficult situations in the work place. And to do this, the most important factor is to make sure the whole team is solution focused.

Take time out

Whether you are an employee or employer, if a problem arises which only affects you, the best thing to do is to take time out. Take a few minutes away from your desk to clear your head and think about what the problem is.

Then, instead of worrying about it, moaning to your colleagues, or hoping it just goes away, you need to actively find a way to solve it.

A problem doesn’t have to be solved on the spot, and it’s perfectly OK to take a bit of time to think it through, and consider how best to approach the situation. And of course, it often helps to talk through the issue with other people.

Problems shared mean problems halved

There are of course ways to do this. The absolute worst way to ask other people for help or advice, is to dump big problems on them, moan about not knowing how to solve them, and expect them to resolve for you.

This is essentially just creating problems for someone else. Instead, approach them with the problem, and some suggestions of solutions you’ve thought of – even if they haven’t worked or you haven’t actually them tried yet.

It’s often a good idea to write down solutions so you can track what works and what doesn’t. You don’t have to know exactly what to do – and it will probably be a case of trial and error, but at least you are actively thinking about how to solve your problem, rather than dwelling on the problem itself.

It’s all about the team

When it comes to a problem concerning the team, it can be a little trickier.

It is very easy for people to focus all their attention on the negatives in a situation, especially if they are surrounded by their peers. Don’t forget, having something in common to moan about at work can sometimes be a form of office bonding! But being part of a team who work well together to tackle problems, is an even better form of bonding.

As an employer, it’s important to encourage positive mindsets in your work environment. Lead by example, and your employees are likely to follow suit.

The last thing you want to do is to announce a problem in a negative way and cast a shadow over the team. Instead, speak matter-of-factly about the problem, as if it’s nothing they can’t handle, and encourage them to think of ideas and work together to find a solution.

You can do this is a group discussion, at a team briefing, or even by wandering round the office and speaking to people individually.

When you speak to the group as a whole, you encourage a healthy debate about how the problem came to be, and an active discussion about what needs to be done to solve it.

Become solution focused

This of course will help your team become solution focused – and this can only be a good thing for when future problems arise.

When a problem presents itself, dwelling on the situation only breeds more problems and achieves nothing. Coming up with a solution means thinking long and hard about the problem, regardless of how big or how important it is.

Whether it’s a problem faced solely by yourself or with a team, your way of thinking about it is the transformative component which decides where you go next.

Finding solutions, not problems is an attitude. It’s not negative or defeatist, and can ultimately be the reason a company survives and flourishes.

Companies which are run by positive solution finders, will generally learn and grow from their mistakes. And this is because the team know how to tackle a problem head on – by finding a solution. And if a solution fails, they move on to the next. And so on.

It’s far too easy to focus on the negatives of a situation – in fact it’s something most of us do without even realising. To be someone who focuses on finding a solution means you have to actively seek out answers, and get fully involved.

So, standing idly by whilst your teammates work to solve a problem does not equal being part of the solution. If you’re not involved in finding an answer, then you are most definitely part of the problem.

So for future reference – acknowledge, think, and solve.

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