What are Problem Solving and Decision Making Skills?

Soft Skills

iSkillBox Learning

Mon, 01-Aug-2022

Problem-solving and decision-making are two aspects of critical thinking. They go hand in hand because without solving a problem, it becomes difficult to make a decision. And even vice versa in some cases. 

Now, there are two types of problem-solvers and decision-makers. The first type is the intuitive one. We have all been intuitive decision-makers at one point or another. They usually go with their gut feeling or intuition and put their emotions above all. 

The second type is the ones who think more rationally. They have a systematic approach to everything. But, let’s unpack more. Let’s delve deep into what problem-solving and decision-making skills are and how they can help both types of thinkers! 

What are problem-solving and decision-making?

Problem-solving is a method where you identify the best possible solutions to a given problem. When you are solving a problem, you also end up making a few decisions necessary for the right outcome. The main aim of problem-solving is to come up with the right solution. 

Problem-solving involves gathering up all the right facts, finding related causes, asking the right questions, and more. 

Decision-making is when you choose a solution as per your judgment, facts, knowledge, and more. The main criteria of decision-making are to ensure you avoid any difficulties that may otherwise arise and to identify the right opportunities along the way. 

Generally, both problem-solving and decision-making are used together.

What are problem-solving and decision-making skills?

Now that you know what problem-solving and decision-making are, let’s understand more about the skills. 

To have problem-solving and decision-making skills means you can navigate through adverse situations easily with those particular skills. Whether it is in your career or at home, problem-solving and decision-making skills are imperative and they will never lose their charm. 

To improve your efficiency at work and in your personal life, take a look at the basics of problem-solving and decision-making. Having such a streamlined approach will help you achieve the best outcome. 

How To Use Problem-Solving and Decision-Making 

There are usually six steps to problem-solving and decision-making. While the first half requires you to solve a problem and the next set of steps require your decision-making skills. Let’s understand more. 

  • Understand the problem

The first thing you must do before you proceed to solve a problem is to identify the problem. Ask yourself the right questions here and gather all the relevant data. 

For instance, you work for a Digital Marketing Firm and a new strategy that has been implemented hasn’t been able to fetch the desired results. So, what do you do?  You will first understand the problem and the discrepancy before you proceed toward solving the problem. 

  • Look for alternate solutions 

Sometimes, when it comes to a problem, identifying other sides associated with it can help you out. 

So, let’s expand the above-used example. You find out that a strategy is not doing well. 

But sometimes, solving a problem can become a lengthy and unnecessary step to take and the best way to go about it is to choose alternatives. So, you sit with your team and have brainstorming sessions. Maybe you tweak that particular strategy and come up with an easy yet best solution altogether, which fetches you the desired results.

  • See which option offers the best results

Now you have a bunch of alternatives in your hand. But analyzing and weighing these alternatives is vital for the best option, such as taking a look at the cost, the end result, and more.

  • Choose as per your analyses 

Here, decision-making plays an important role. You will have to make a decision that yields the best results. When you are confused, start eliminating the least favorable options. And in the end, you will only have a couple of alternatives left and decision-making then becomes easier. 

  • Choose the right choice 

This is a crucial step in decision-making. Here, you will have to reach a decision and implement that said decision too. When it comes to executing your decision, it is always best to go in a step-by-step order so you don’t miss out on anything crucial. Continuing the same example, let’s say as a Digital Marketing Strategist, you have come up with another alternative solution and that is to run Google Ads. 

Now, you cannot simply dive into it. You will have to create a plan for the same, see how many ads to run, create copies, finalize costing and delegate the work to the right people, and only then will you be able to proceed. That’s what you must do here. Once the decision is made, you implement it properly. 

  • Take a look at the results (if necessary, start the process again)

Once everything has been implemented and your decision is good to go, keep track of it. Always monitor the progress and see if any additional tweaks need to be done now and then. If you think something is not working out, sit with your team or yourself again to adjust the plan and repeat all the above steps if necessary. 

Why are problem-solving and decision-making skills important?

Problem-solving and decision-making skills are exceptionally essential because they help you steer through a variety of situations both favorable and unfavorable. When you equip yourself with the necessary skills, you will easily be able to navigate through situations at work, home, and more without causing yourself stress or anxiety. 

Also, they are a crucial part of critical thinking, which every individual must equip themselves with because wrong decisions can lead to adverse consequences. Therefore, problem-solving and decision-making are key skills that every individual must develop.

How can I improve my decision-making skills?

To improve your decision-making and problem-solving skills, there are a few tips you can take into consideration. They include:

  • Always make a plan when in doubt 
  • Talk to an expert or join a short course
  • Weigh all your options
  • Write your thoughts down for more clarity
  • Talk to your inner circle
  • Have deadlines 

Finally, to improve your decision-making and problem-solving skills, follow the six steps we have mentioned. Start with something small and start making use of them. Once you have gained a level of confidence, you can proceed to bigger things in both your work and personal life. Remember, good problem-solving skills lead to good decision-making. 

To discover the best problem-solving and decision-making courses, visit our website today! 

All the best!