Problem Solving and Critical Thinking

Problem solving is reflective of critical thinking, so lets define Problem Solving and Critical Thinking first.

Problem solving is the act of defining a problem, determining the cause of that problem, identifying prioritising, and selecting alternatives for a solution, and obviously implementing the solution.

Critical Thinking is the analysis of all available facts, evidence, observations, and arguments to form a judgment.

Problem Solving and Critical Thinking are classed as soft skills and nowadays this is an area that employers are actively looking for at both the interview stage for recruitment and also for ongoing progression within organisations.

Are you good at identifying problems and issues? Then more importantly do you have the ability to think clearly and look at things from another angle and then identify potential solutions and then communicate them to the team around you?
All too often we hear the phrase “Don’t come to me with problems, come to me with solutions”.

Let’s define a problem. A problem is a doubtful or difficult matter requiring a solution and something hard to understand, accomplish or even deal with.

If we think about problems, they are everywhere, in our everyday life. We are constantly and naturally problem solving due to the daily events that occur, whether personal work related or even socially.

There are so many skills required to solve a problem and then find a solution. You will need to have the confidence to make a decision, be able to research and analyse information, identify risks and then have the self-belief in your solution to communicate it to your team or manager.

Have you ever arranged an event or a trip away with family or friends? No matter how organised and prepared you are there will always be a problem or an issue no matter how small. Think about and record how you managed to deal or solve it. On a daily basis we are dealing issues and problems and consistently coming up with solutions. Do not take for granted what you do on a daily basis!

So, a simple process to solve problems could be: Evaluate, Research, break down the problem into manageable chunks, look for solutions, then include everybody in the decision-making process, don’t be afraid make a decision, reflect on your outcomes and finally continue to review the process.


Recall a time when you have been faced with a problem and need to make a decision. Using the process above, write down what you did at every stage to show how much of the process you used naturally.

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