5 Reasons Why Problem Solving Skills are Critical for Employment

Problem-solving is rated as one of the most important skills in any workplace. Of the total number of companies surveyed by the World Economic Forum, an astounding 95 percent placed critical thinking and problem solving as the top skills required for the workplace today and in the future [1]. Here are 5 reasons problem solving is a critical skill for employment.

1.Difficult to Master

Problem-solving is a difficult skill to master. As with all skills you need to learn the tools of the trade first and then start to practice them. Unfortunately, most of us go through life without these tools and instead substitute them with our methods. Most times these methods give us varying results. This means we have to unlearn what was practiced before. Unlearning skills is more difficult since it requires consistent effort to change learned habits and behaviors. (Takahashi, 2016). Therefore, you need to actively practice correct problem-solving tools for a longer period to unlearn the old methods.

2. Career Advancement.

As you grow in your career, the types of problems you solve become more intricate and complex. Most often you have to demonstrate these skills before you get there. This is because good managers and leaders love to employ experienced problem solvers. It makes their lives easier. Skilled problem solvers are a triple threat as they solve the manager's problems, their problems and also guide their colleagues towards solutions. Skilled problem solvers make sure that obstacles don't stop the work.

3. Natural Leaders

Skilled problem solvers are natural leaders. They can provide clarity and facilitate solutions while leading teams towards goals. In a study done by Harvard Business Review, problem-solving was ranked as one of the top three skills a leader must possess. As a leader, you have to remove obstacles confidently and effectively. This requires a solid foundation in problem-solving through in-depth knowledge and practice of the tools.

4. Effective Collaborators

Good Problem solvers promote collaboration but also have the ability to work alone towards a goal. Since problem solvers can see the intricacies of the situation and can break down and categorize them, they are more likely to succeed. Problem solvers are efficient in that they do not complain but instead focus on using the tools they already have to solve issues at hand.

5. Creativity and Motivation

Procedures can never replace the power of creativity. Problem-solving activates our creativity and in turn, motivates us. However, just as an artist must learn to use a brush you need to learn how to use the tools to unlock the creative potential of problem-solving.

We solve problems daily, whether at home or work. However, the very skill of problem-solving and most of its sub-skills are not addressed in school or at work. The world expects us to perform well in this skill-set but unlike most skills, no one goes through the trouble of showing us the tools and the methods. This is a skill we are usually expected to learn and perform on our merit.

It is therefore not surprising that problem-solving skills are usually assessed in job interviews as it shows employers a range of competencies including creativity, logic, imagination, resilience, and determination. Unless you are experienced with the tools and methods, it is not easy to successfully demonstrate your capability as a problem solver in your CV or Interview. One of the most reliable ways to show your experience with problem-solving tools is to get certified as a Green or Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma. A Lean Six Sigma belt provides you the fundamental knowledge and experience to showcases your achievement as a problem solver to employers.

Click Here for more information on our Green and Black Belt certification.


[1]. Figure 27: Perceived skills and skills groups with growing demand by 2025, by share of companies surveyed. Image Source: Future of Jobs Survey 2020, World Economic Forum.

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