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Who is a problem solver? In simple terms, a problem solver is someone who solves problems. In a team, diverse organizations and corporate bodies, many people avoid problems by shying away when there is one, but problem solvers usually look for challenges, convert them to opportunities, and search for ways to deal with those impediments, to everyone’s advantage. Without a challenge, without a question to answer, and without a difficulty to confront, problem solvers don’t feel inspired. They love it when it’s tough, because that is the only factor that helps them exhibit their innate abilities.

Mind you, there is a difference between those who create problems and those who solve them. Those who create problems are not literarily, trouble makers; they are those who synthesize problems in order to keep them busy so that superiors or other forms of observers will consider them to be very hardworking people. I have a colleague who thinks by keeping everyone on their toes, they’re actually working. My conclusion is that the calmest are most often the most productive people. Productivity defines hard work. Results are the offspring of productivity.

Problem solving is not an insinuation that problem solvers have the panacea to all quandary – it is just that they make concerted efforts to elucidate every challenge they encounter. The mentality to seek explanation and suggest cognitive clues to obstinacies is in itself a laudable skill and ability. So, what do problem solvers impressively do to make a difference in a team?

1. They Get Prompted: sometimes, problem solvers don’t get told that there is a problem – they either intuitively pick it up or get prompted in the course of formal or informal chats or discussions. Their power of anticipation makes them look ahead to see any impending danger or benefits of taking a particular action. Because of their ability to envision, they can see beyond what ordinary eyes see, and therefore, take advantage or circumvent a disadvantage. If problems prompt you to take action, or advise on what should be done, you are a problem solver. But if all you do is panic and fall apart when danger calls or opportunities surface, you need to work on your problem solving skills.

2. They Ask Leading Questions: to a problem solver, a prompt always leads to a question or questions. These questions are signposts to the answers required to offer solutions to the problems encountered or challenges that would lead to productive ends. To someone without problem solving skills, there is a non-realization, even when nudged to drive in the direction of telltale.

Questions give you a clue and takes you in a route that will propel you to your destination. Without questions, there are no solutions. Without questions, there are no examinations. Without questions, there are no promotions. Questions form hypothesis, and hypothesis are research leads.

3. They Sample Opinions: problem solvers aren’t know-it-all; they pick up ideas from other people, refine them, knit them together and project them. With sampled opinions, they come up with cutting edge solutions. Problem solvers are research-minded people. They seek the best methodologies and design the most needed questionnaires that are arrow heads pointing to the much needed solution.

4. They Don’t Easily Capitulate: many people surrender after a try or few tries, but problem solvers keep trying until they find the answers. Thomas Alva Edison, the American inventor, never stopped trying, and as a result, is famously known for developing the phonograph, the motion picture camera and the long-lasting electric light bulb. Due to his problem solving skills, he is also credited with the creation of the first industrial research laboratory.

Being a problem solver doesn’t mean the odds aren’t against you; most often, they are, but you are unwilling to give up until you find the answer.

5. They Always Raise The Bar: when problem solvers succeed in proffering solutions to one problem, and it is in a way, completely solved, they don’t rest on their oars. Instead, they set new targets and raise the bar – problem solvers get better with every answer they provide. Communications, man’s greatest asset in networking was made more flexible to handle by problem solvers. Those with the talent saw the need for man to, within seconds, reach one another, and inform one another. They began with wire telephones, which grew to wireless, and from wireless, the internet emerged – today, the internet has done a great magic – the world has become one body, all because of those who see a need and solve the need.

6. They Are Great Listeners: to be able to provide quality solutions, you must have good listening skills. If you don’t listen well, you can’t comprehend what the needs are, and without a good understanding of the needs, every solution you offer will be haphazard. Understanding the question means you know the way to the answer, even if you don’t currently have it – at least, you know how to source it. If you know how to listen, you will know the bends, joints and corners that are either crooked or ambiguous.

7. They Paint Mental Pictures: every problem solver is an imaginary artist; in his mind are paints and brushes ready to sketch the ideas that will deal with the imminent challenge. When problem solvers paint the solutions in their minds, they utter their pictures when required to – that is why their ideas have structures and functions – they don’t just talk, they talk from their inner designs. Those who paint no pictures have no order in articulation; even if they have great points, because they have no structures, it makes no sense.

8. They Don’t Sleep Forever: problem solvers take rests but don’t sleep the sleep of death. Some people sleep with their whole lives, even when life is slipping away. Some brains are dead because some people can’t draw a distinguishing line between rest and death. If you always spend half of your day sleeping, you have a problem. In short, if your daily sleep exceeds 6 to 8 hours, you seriously have a problem. If you speak to great achievers or read their biographies, you will find out that almost every one of them slept less. You can’t do big things sleeping long hours. The brain is dead when sleep becomes too much. Problem solvers sleep less. Problem solvers don’t sleep forever!


Ken is a leadership Motivation, Strategy and Personal Development Writer, Blogger and Speaker. He writes for a number of magazines and blogs. He is also a mentor and published author of several books.