Creative Problem Solving Skills: Key to Leadership Success
Problem solving skills are a crucial indicator of success in most modern workplaces, and even entry level candidates with low levels of responsibility face obstacles that they often need to navigate on their own. As employees work their way up through the ranks, true problem solving abilities become more necessary and they often become harder to find.
Why Creative Problem Solving Skills Are a Must for Employees and Managers
Our modern economy, labor demand is shifting rapidly from execution tasks (like factory line work) to thought-oriented tasks (which tend to take place in offices). The skills required to maintain a budget, plan a project, manage a staff of employees, or establish vendor contracts are in high demand. And these tasks tend to involve unforeseen obstacles that are more easily overcome by those with strong, innate problem solving abilities.
Helping Employees Develop Creative Problem Solving Skills
- To improve overall problem solving skills in your workplace, start by actively seeking these skills in job candidates. Before staffing a position, identify the problem solving skills and tendencies of those who found success with this position in the past. What qualities made them stand out and helped them overcome the obstacles of the job? During the interview process, ask behavioral questions that can help you screen for these traits.
- Look for high quality training programs that you can offer to your existing employees. Problem solving skills are often inherent, but they can be taught, especially with the guidance of excellent trainers.
- Encourage problem solving skills in the workplace and cultivate a culture of self-reliance. Praise employees who excel in this area and offer individual assistance to those who tend to freeze up in the face of obstacles and setbacks.
I will discuss more on this topic in my class at Manhattan College on September 19.