Human Relations MGMT611
SOLVING PROBLEMS SKILLFULLY
Solving Problems Skillfully
Solving day-to-day problems is a major activity of all humans in today's complex social environment. The
ability to solve problems skillfully is required in many situations both at work place and in private life.
A problem is a gap between what exists and what you want to have existed. Decision making to solve a
problem means selecting one alternative from the various alternative solutions that can be pursued.
Opening the door of the principal office in your college may be a momentary problem. But it is a one.
Normally, you knock at the door and seek permission to get in.
Personal attributes and problem solving
Many personal characteristics and traits influence problem solving techniques. Some of these attributes can
be improved through conscious efforts by individuals.
1. Intelligence, Education, and Experience. In general, if you are intelligent, well educated (vocabulary
of concepts), and well experienced, you will make better decisions than people without these attributes.
How well you understand the situation and how broad you can think. How many alternative solutions come
to your mind. How experience make you decide the best alternative clearly.
2. Emotional Intelligence. Being able to deal effectively with your feelings and emotions, and those of
others, can help you make better decisions. Emotional intelligence refers to qualities such as understand
one's own feelings, empathy for others, and the regulation of emotion to enhance living. Control over
emotions is usually necessary for building relations and finding good solutions to problems.
3. Flexibility versus Rigidity. Flexible thinking enables the problem solver to think of original--and
therefore creative--alternative solutions to solving a problem. Rigidity in today's environment actually
4. Intuition. Effective decision makers rely on careful analysis and intuition; it is an experience-based way
of knowing or reasoning in which weighing and balance of evidence are done automatically. Intuition takes
place when the brain gathers information stored in memory and packages it as a new insight or solution.
Developing good intuition may take a long time because so much information has to be stored. Vast
experience develops intuition (insight or sixth sense or instinct).
5. Concentration. Mental concentration is an important contributor to making good decisions. Effective
problem solvers often achieve the flow experience, total absorption in one's work.
6. Decisiveness and Perfectionism. Being fearful of committing oneself to any course of action can
impede decision making. Another impediment is perfectionism. The perfectionist keeps searching for more
information before making a decision. The combination of being indecisive and a perfectionist can lead to
7. Risk Taking. For some types of problems, the high risk taker and thrill seeker is at an advantage. Risk
taking and thrill seeking can also lead to poor problem solving and decision making, such as betting on a
huge inventory of merchandise that fails to sell.
8. Values of the Decision-Maker. Personal and social values influence decision making at every step. The
right values for the situation will improve problem solving and decision making, whereas the wrong values
will lead to poor decisions.
Human Relations MGMT611
Problem solving and cognition
Personality influences a person's cognitive style (intuitive skills). It influences the mental processes used
to perceive and make judgments from available information.
The four dimensions of psychological functioning are:
(1) Introverted (shy) versus extroverted,
(2) Thinking versus feeling,
(3) Sensing versus intuiting, and
(4) Judging versus perceiving.
Ways to solve problems
A highly recommended way of solving problems and making decisions is to use the following steps.
1. Awareness of the Problem. You can either be handed a problem to solve or discover one on your own.
Ample information about the problem is necessary.
2. Identify Causes of the Problem. The causes of problems should be diagnosed and clarified before any
action is taken because the causes are not always what they seem to be on the surface. Source of problem
should be identified. Right diagnosis is needed for finding right solution.
Five key elements about the possible causes of a problem are: people, materials, machines, facilities, physical
environment, and methods.
3. Find Creative Alternatives. The essence of good problem solving is to search for creative (and
therefore useful) alternatives. Go beyond the ordinary.
4. Weigh Alternatives. The pros and cons of each alternative must be weighed. Tree analysis. Example:
Education vs apprenticeship.
5. Make the Choice. At this step the person chooses an alternative. Some people suffer from analysis
paralysis, and thus delay decision making.
6. Implement the Choice. The alternative chosen must now be put into action. Implementation is often
much more difficult than carrying out the other steps in decision making.
7. Evaluate the Choice. Evaluating the effectiveness of your decision tells you if another alternative must
be sought.A helpful decision-making aid is to visualize what you would do if the alternative you chose
proved to be dreadful--the worst-case scenario.
Creativity is the ability to develop good ideas that can be put into action. Adaptive creativity involves
improving an existing system, whereas innovative creativity involves creating something new.
Characteristics of Creative Workers
Following are the characteristics of the creative workers
Dubrin, A.J. (2005). Human Relations for Career and Personal Success. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey,
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