New employees often feel under pressure to continuously provide new ideas to help innovate products and deliver new services that will help the business’s growth. However, it is not easy to generate new ideas and develop them on one’s own. A team effort is needed to brainstorm for new proposals and get these ideas working. Without it, these ideas will turn into waste, and the time spent gathering them will only be for nothing.

Fortunately, there is a good way to get ideas when a team works together and understand what kind of problem-solver each member is.

If you want to know the kind of problem-solver you are, here is a short article that can help you out.

Scenarios

To find out what kind of problem-solver you are, imagine these scenarios and how you will respond to them:

Scenario A:

There was a problem with the audit report given by the auditing team for the budget discussions. A meeting was called out to identify the cause of the problem and discuss the available solutions to aid the company. What will you contribute to the meeting?

A.      You will look into the report provided and ask what the issue is.

B.      You will provide solutions to improve the auditing process.

C.      You will explain why certain solutions will not be ideal to correct the auditing and propose alternatives.

D.      You will provide the steps that should be done to correct the auditing for the next budget meetings.

Scenario B:

One team proposed that there should be a shuffle in the project roster to get more sales. However, a shuffle could cause some problems for the current preparations of the project, and it could also lead to some major issues in the long-run. What will you recommend?

A.      Speak to your boss to discuss the project criteria and the role of each team.

B.      Propose three different ideas you have as alternatives.

C.     Tell your boss through email the possible setbacks of a role shuffle and provide examples.

D.       Work with the boss by providing all the information you have to ensure that the role reshuffling is effective.

Types of Problem-Solvers

Whichever answer you have for both scenarios, you will still be able to help your company to grow. However, assessing how you respond to each scenario can tell you what kind of problem-solver you are.

For those who answered A in both scenarios, you are a clarifier.

A clarifier analyses all the data to determine what can be done about a situation. They are the people who will ask all the needed questions, identify and point out the possible challenges, and keep everyone focused on the objectives. For some people, clarifiers are challenging to work with because of their tough questions and how they try to change the topic. However, their interventions can clear up some of the questions that others may have on their own but never have the courage to raise them.

For those who answered B, you are an ideator.

An ideator is someone who has a myriad of ideas that can be applied by the company. While some of their ideas are good, others are not so helpful and practical. Some people may find ideators hard to work with because they can’t seem to find a specific idea to propose, but they would still keep proposing more. Also, their ideas sometimes need a lot of improvements before they can be used by the company. Nevertheless, without this type of people, the company may never have reached a breakthrough.

For those who answered C, you are a developer.

A developer is the one who looks into the idea, finds alternative ways on how to achieve it, and improves everything on the way once they see some flaws. Since they are very observant, their peers may find them as very critical co-workers. However, they are the ones who can transform ideas into great solutions that are easy to work with.

For those who answered D, you are an implementer.

An implementer is the one who focuses on the execution of the project and ensures it gets done on time. While other members focus on the ideas, implementers are the ones who get agitated easily when the deadlines are not met. As a result, others can have trouble working with them due to their nature, especially with their consistent questioning and pressing for analysis. But, when a project is finished, they are still the ones who will monitor and keep everyone on track.

How to Maximise Everyone’s Contributions

With the different types of problem-solvers, it can be hard to organise and plan the project smoothly. Differing opinions and suggestions can lead to the project getting delayed even further. Each team member will also find it hard to get their voices heard as everyone has different personalities.

With such a diverse team, different problem-solvers can have their own problems dealing with other members. For example, ideators will have problems working with a bureaucratic culture. On the other hand, clarifiers and developers can become the constant source of negativity to the team due to their continuous complaints. Lastly, implementers can also be seen in a negative light as these people will keep pushing forward the project even if it is half-sorted.

Whichever type of problem-solver you are, you must remember that there is always a time for everything. Each person will be able to contribute to the project. The most important thing that everyone needs to learn is to listen and respect one another to get everything rolling. Because in the end, it will be more difficult to get a project done without one of these problem-solvers.

When you are part of a team that’s responsible for solving a problem or generating new ideas, you should maximise each person’s capability and find ways to sync and use the differing ideas efficiently. Talk to them regarding how the process should go and what are the targets you need to hit. With the ground rules established, it will be easier to get value from everyone’s ideas and get the project on track.

As you learn what kind of problem-solver you are, you must understand how other team members think, analyse, and solve problems. It will be much easier to work with them when you help your team get things into perspective. Once everyone’s focus is fixed on the same goal, you can provide more opportunities for them to contribute so that your projects will become much more efficient.

Of course, you will need to be patient because some may find it hard to compromise at first, but gradually, it will mellow down, and each person will learn to respect and listen to other people’s ideas.

I am an ideator. Let us know which type you are in the comments below.

To understand what kind of worker are you, here are interesting reads:
Why Perspective taking is Important for Career Success
How to Become Your Boss’ Dream Employee?
3 Things All Great Leaders Have In Common

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22 replies on “What Kind of Problem Solver Are You?

  1. A very useful post, Kally. It’s the type of tool that a team leader can use to understand the people they have on their team. In hand with this, it can help a team break down barriers and understand how each role working together can lead to a successful outcome. I think over the course of many years of problem solving and rattling around at the top, I tend to adjust my role to the situation required. Further food for thought!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I LOVE this one Kally!

    I spent much of my career in problem solving roles.

    On your two examples; I choose (“ALL of the above.”) WHY?
    Because while their may be a “single problem”; both its root cause and possible and probable solutions are each calls for action. IMO

    Good One!
    Thanks,
    Patrick, God Bless

    Liked by 1 person

  3. With the first scenario, I felt like I needed more information to know what strategy I’d use, which pointed me towards clarifier when I read the descriptions. Thanks, this is really interesting and a good way to think about how we can contribute in a team!

    Liked by 1 person

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