We are constantly solving problems at work and in our day to day lives. Things come up and we have to be ready to face them and handle them effectively. So is problem solving really a skill?
The short answer is yes!
What is a soft skill?
Problem solving is a skill. It is what is called a “soft skill”. This means it is more of skill one has versus one that is learned through education or instruction. That doesn’t mean that you can’t improve problem solving abilities. Soft skills, like problem solving, can be strengthened with practice and can also become poorer if not utilized. How do you keep those skills sharp and active? Practice!
Becoming an expert problem solver
Malcolm Gladwell said that expertise comes from 10,000 hours of practicing a skill in the right way. When problem solving is used so often every day it makes sense that a single person can reach that expertise quickly, but the key comes in practicing the right way.
1 - Do not hand off problems to someone else
If you are wanting to hone your skills be the one to sit down on your own or with a team and actively participate in the solving of the skill.
2 - Avoid using the same solution over and over
People will often rely on solutions that worked before even if it won’t work as well in the current or future situation. Make sure to analyze the problem fully before coming up with a solution in order to avoid coasting through the problem and not actually practicing problem solving skills.
3 - Find a way to practice outside of the work environment
Finding team building activities for a team is one of the best ways to exercise problem solving. Team building that involves fun activities outside of the typical work environment allows people to relax and enjoy their time while still working on skills that they will use when they are back at work.
4 - Repeat again and again!
By repeating the steps above you will become an expert problem solver in no time.
Benefits of Team Building Activities for Problem Solving
Team building activities are a great way to enhance problem solving skills (as well as a variety of other skills that are useful for a team). It allows the team members to explore outside of work and discover their strengths in a fun way. For example a team might engage in an escape room and are just having fun, but they are also using a variety of skills to solve a wide variety of problems. They may discover that they work best when they are able to focus on one thing at a time. Another might discover that they do best working on a couple things at the same time. These discoveries can lead to improved problem solving at work as well as improving workflow and more focused work styles.
There are many in-person and virtual team building activities that are available for teams of all types. These can allow team members and managers to utilize and practice their problem solving skills while being involved in a fun, exciting, and new environment.