Resolving workplace problems

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Any working individual will agree that problems at the workplace are inevitable and that resolving them is a part and parcel of one’s functions. Problem solving and decision making are vital fundamentals of all responsibilities. But are people trained to discharge such functions in a realistic and efficacious manner? Whenever people encounter a problem, more often than not, they have a tendency to adopt an approach that comprises three distinct actions. At the first instance, they become apprehensive, jittery and skittish; and pray that the problem being run into should dissipate and peter out. At the next instance, they start getting a feeling that they have a solution for the problem and which is the only possible answer for it. And lastly, they want to point fingers and make someone a scapegoat. Thus, a problem being faced gets transformed into a problem of a greater magnitude. Workplaces, therefore, will always have problems in some form or the other.

Why do we visualize a problem as a problem? Firstly, it is so because a solution to it has to be found and regarding which we lack the basic adeptness and dexterity to deal with it. And secondly, we feel scared about the likelihood of differences of opinion on what the best solution ought to be. The fact that a large majority of us are temperamentally opposed to any type of dispute or divergence needs no highlighting because we are apprehensive about the out come that it will not be positive. In the light of the foregoing, the objectives of any good problem-resolution procedure should be to render individuals and organizations welcome dissension and resolve issues adroitly to the satisfaction of all.    Cacophony and discords have two major attributes. The first one is that you cannot help them from occurring and that they keep occurring. The second one is that they by themselves are excellent means to improve upon existing procedures, interpersonal dealings and relationships. Conflicts are actually a source of information that can be utilized to plug flaws and inconsistencies in order to ensure that a better working atmosphere is brought about. Now, if that is what it is, shouldn’t we be happy whenever problems surface?

All human beings possess a natural flair to resolve problems. But regretfully, they have a tendency to instantaneously come up with solutions. And that is a problem in its own sense of the word. When you attempt to find a solution to a problem pronto, you commit a blunder of the most grievous kind. Can you answer a question before even understanding what the issue is all about?

Any move to address a problem should comprise the following five steps:

Recognize the problem: This means being certain of what the issue is all about and appreciative that that there could be varied opinions on the very cause of it. The opinions are nothing but individual concerns and interests which warrant clear-cut’ segregation.

Appreciate all concerns: This step is very crucial which people generally forget to go through. The concerns of people are nothing but their requirements that they want met by way of some solution that you may come up with. While the best solution to a problem is evidently the one that addresses everybody’s concerns, people generally tend to overlook their genuine concerns because they get to be attached to a specific solution. You have to be a patient listener and pay attention to everybody for better comprehension. And most importantly, you need to segregate the terming of concerns from the cataloguing of solutions.

Enumerate likely way outs: This step will necessitate dialogues, discussions and deliberations; you will be surprised to find that a plethora of opportunities to display originality and ingenuity will open up. While you are at the likely solutions, the discussions going on will talk of their pros and cons. You will need to separate one from the other.

Assess different solutions: Every solution that you identify for a problem will have its own strength and weakness. You need to honestly look for them and having done so, separate the evaluation of way-outs from the selection of different alternatives.

Select the best option or options: This is where your decision-making skills come to the fore. You have to take a call on the best option presented to you. You may even consider if you can combine a couple of solutions to find an everlasting way-out. Resolution of a problem is indeed time consuming and calls for a very serious approach. The steps listed above are not necessarily an all-inclusive, sequential solution. There could be situations wherein you may have to revert to an earlier step because from it will flow the next step. Various steps highlighted above are applicable to an individual as also to a group. But remember that the more difficult a problem is, the more disciplined the procedure to resolve it is warranted.

Author: Seema Rani