No one wants to be around somebody who is constantly pessimistic, right? However, there is also something to be said for not burying your head in the sand either. There has to be a middle ground between these two very different personality types. I like to refer to this middle ground as proactive problem solving. Proactive problem solving is being able to foresee a possible outcome and coming up with a solution that best addresses it.
What is Proactive Problem Solving?
Proactive problem solving is particularly important when working with others and even more so when working in customer service positions. There is nothing worse than feeling like you don’t know what to say to a customer regardless if it is face to face or over the phone. That on the spot nervousness can be very frustrating to both you and the consumer. So how can you use proactive problem solving to help take the tension out of these situations? What if we could plan for every possible outcome?
Unfortunately, that’s not really feasible. However, there are some ways you can help reduce the number of situations you feel unprepared for. One of the easiest ways is to practice your craft. Practice it often and with different people who will be able to provide you with different points of view. Practice with veterans of your craft. The veterans will be able to pull from their experiences to help you start off more knowledgeable.
Another way is to check your ego at the door. Problem-solving is best done in the form of collaboration. No one person knows everything or is the best at everything. Listen to your peers and superiors and take advice instead of shrugging it off. Work to find a solution the first time something happens and share your experiences with your peers so that they can learn from them.
We practice proactive problem solving almost daily in our lives. What is one of the first things most people do in the morning? Turn on the news and check the weather or the traffic, right? This is a form of proactive problem solving. Most of us just need to let this carry over to our work lives to start reaping the benefits professionally.