Development of skills related to problem solving and decision making is key to communicating effectively. These skills are highly regarded by employers and required if you aspire to move into a position of management or intend on starting your own business. These skills are also extremely valuable when it comes to navigating customer service relations and problems that occur on job sites related to installations and materials in the trades.
In the trades issues often arise regarding interpersonal relationships between coworkers, communications with customers, conflicting methods for installation of materials, negotiating material substitutions with suppliers, and code interpretations with inspectors. It is crucial that you employ critical thinking, good communication and listening skills to solve these problems. Once you have attained these skills you will find it easier to solve problems and negotiate tricky situations.
Miscommunication is one of the primary causes of potential problems on the job. When you are communicating with others, particularly those less experienced such as customers or new apprentices, use language which is easy for them to understand, be clear about the situation, use visuals when required to help illustrate potential solutions, and be open to questions to ensure they understand. Ensure that you take all perspectives into consideration and put yourself into the other parties’ shoes, understanding where others are coming from and why will allow for a greater understanding on your part. If we consistently practice clear communication, it leads to fewer problems requiring solving and less conflict that requires resolution.
When asked to make decisions, be confident in your choice but also humble and accepting of any mistakes that you may make. Making an incorrect decision sometimes is inevitable, and the best action when mistakes are made are to be honest about them. You may need to engage in a degree of negotiation and compromise to come to a resolution that is amicable to both parties involved.
The following are steps to consider when solving problems related to communication:
- Approach the issue from a neutral or objective position.
- Do not let your biases influence your decision making.
- Model effective listening skills and validate each parties’ concerns.
- Treat all individuals involved with respect.
- Let the individuals involved provide their information without interruption.
- Consider other people’s views and thoughtfully reflect on what they have said.
- Make sure that you understand the problem. If you need more information or clarification, ask questions in a non-threatening manner.
- Be open and willing to explain how and why you came to your decision.
Now complete the Learning Task Self-Test.
- Who uses effective problem solving and decision making?
- Your client
- The project manager
- Your immediate supervisor
- Everyone. It is part of everyday life whether you are at home or at work.
- The key to effective communication is the development of problem-solving and decision- making skills.
- Problem-solving and decision-making skills are extremely valuable for navigating problems that occur on job sites related to installations and materials in the trades.
- Which of the following skills are useful in problem-solving?
- Critical thinking
- Good communication
- Active listening
- All of the above
- It is important to be confident in your decision and stick to your guns even if you are wrong.
- Which of the following is NOT an example of steps to consider when solving communication problems?
- Consider other people’s views and thoughtfully reflect on what they have said
- Do not disclose how or why you came to your decision
- Model effective listening skills and validate each parties’ concerns
- Do not let your biases influence your decision making
See the Answer Key in the back matter of the textbook for self-test answers.