What Type of Problem Solver Are You?

What Type of Problem Solver Are You?

Whether it's finding a solution to a process problem at work, effectively managing employee relationships or getting to the bottom of a clerical error on financial statements, Canada is a nation of problem solvers, according to the results of a new survey.

The poll, which was performed by Leger Marketing on behalf of 3M Canada, revealed that Canadians can be categorized into one of three groups when it comes to the way in which they reach solutions: Those who are "take charge," "practical" or "trusting."

As its title suggests, the take charge type are those who tend to be self-reliant, wanting to solve a situation through their own skills and efforts, the study found. Those who are more practical, meanwhile, prefer to call in the recruits, or more specifically, professionals who may be more trained than they to tackle a situation. People who tend toward trusting others - or delegating responsibilities - typically turn to those they're closest to for advice or assistance.

Erin Craven-Patrick, director of marketing and sales at 3M, noted that this study speaks to the variety of ways in which workers approach an issue. Though they may all have the same end in mind, the means are different.

"We wanted to gain a better understanding of how Canadians approach problem solving both at work and at home," said Craven-Patrick.

She added that the poll was worthwhile because it gets to the heart of what strategies individuals employ in order to reach real-world solutions.

British Columbians More Apt To Be 'Take Charge' Problem Solvers, Poll Finds

Many of the problem-solving approaches men and women pursued differed depending on their gender. For example, the Leger Marketing study found men to be more likely than women to attempt to fix a broken computer on their own. Specifically, approximately 42 per cent of men said that they relied on their personal experience for handling a computer malfunction, versus just 18 per cent of women.

At the provincial level, British Columbians were the most likely to implement a take charge approach to fixing a frozen computer versus people from other parts of the country. British Columbians were also the most inclined to rely on their own skills in other problem-solving situations, such as fixing a leaky faucet or repairing a popped tire.

Canadians' ability to problem solve may come from their own personal strengths that they developed at a young age or learned through a current or previous employment position. More than 6 in 10 respondents in a separate survey indicated that a position they once had helped change their life, according to a poll done by Monster Canada. Of these, approximately 85 per cent said the job they once had enabled them to discover new skills they hadn't realized they possessed.

Sheryl Boswell, digital marketing and corporate communications strategist at Monster Canada, said that small business owners can appoint the right people to the right positions by having an effective recruitment strategy. A strong talent acquisition program can help ensure that a business is in highly capable hands. Additionally, employees should be sure that they know themselves and where their strengths reside.

"Knowing what aspects of employment bring you joy or satisfaction should play an important role in any job search and it's important to be honest with yourself," said Boswell.

Employees who follow their passion may enable them to tap into other skills they can exploit to their own and their employers' advantage. Nearly 15 per cent of Canadians said that identifying new talents would make their job "life-changing."

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