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How You Deal With A Problem Largely Reflects Who You Are

How You Deal With A Problem Largely Reflects Who You Are

In life, problems occur every day. Some problems are easy to solve, such as a simple math problem while others are big, such as a failing relationship. The ability to effectively solve problems leads to success in life and in business. Problem solving affects who we are and how others perceive us in our daily lives.

How you deal with problems largely reflects who you are, what you’ve learned in life, and it also reveals insights about your true personality. Below you’ll find common ways that people deal with problems and what these behaviors reveal about your true personality.

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If you blame others for problems, it reveals that you’re a manipulator

Those who blame others for problems are simply shifting responsibility of a problem to a target and effectively wiping their hands of it. If you’ve ever been the target of blame at home or the workplace, you understand that it’s uncomfortable and not an effective problem-solving technique. Thus, finger pointing negatively affects personal and professional relationships. Blame-shifting is a common personality trait of those who are manipulators. If you find that you’re never a source of a problem and you shift the blame and problem solving to others, it might be time to look at your situation and problems with more objectiveness.

If you assume responsibility for problems, it reveals you’re a leader that takes charge

When you assume responsibility for a problem, you’re admitting that you might be involved in the creation of the issue. Or, you’re a leader for a group that created a problem, and you understand that you must take the lead to help resolve it. This is a mature approach to problem solving, and is one of the first steps in making the right moves to getting the issue resolved. If you’re someone who takes responsibility for issues and tackles them head on, congratulations. You’ve learned that problems occur every day, and you know how to define problems and build a plan to ensure they’re solved. You’ve reached a higher level of leadership that many aspire to possess.

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If you deny that a problem exists, it reveals that you oppose the solution

If you deny that a problem exists, it reveals that you simply want to avoid the steps that are necessary to solve the problem and this might be due to strong political, religious or other beliefs and core values. As an example, perhaps your spouse has been unfaithful, but you deny the problem exists because you strongly oppose the solution of divorce because of your past experience with a breakup of your family or religious beliefs. It’s an admirable trait to have strong beliefs; however, you must look at situations objectively in order to devise an appropriate plan. In this example, you might continue to deny that the indiscretions exist and become blocked from finding an appropriate solution that matches your beliefs, such as marriage counseling.

A study by Duke University confirms that denial occurs when we’re not satisfied with the prospective solutions to problems. In the study, researchers studied three serious problem areas — climate change, crime and air pollution. They examined why some republicans denied the existence of climate change. The researchers found that the republicans who denied climate change were adverse to the proposed solution, which was increased government regulation. Hence, we can conclude that those with strong beliefs that lead them to oppose a solution, might deny that the problems exists altogether.

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If you ignore problems, it reveals that you are overly busy or emotionally sensitive

Ignoring problems could signal that you’re highly sensitive and controlling negative emotions might be difficult for you. Perhaps in the past, you were criticized by the way you solved a problem. As a result, you harbor fear of rejection, failure and criticism. Fear and other negative emotions can block you from moving forward and finding logical solutions to problems.

If you find solutions for problems, it reveals that you think logically, objectively and creatively

When you think objectively, you solve problems based on facts and logic. Your personal biases and emotions are removed from the picture. You can emotionally detach yourself from the situation and look at the problem from a different perspective. However, objectiveness is not the only personality trait that makes us successful at problem solving. Creativity also plays a part. One of the most famous stories of a creative solution to a complex problem is the legend of Alexander the Great untying the Gordian Knot. In this story, Alexander the Great was challenged with untying an impossible knot that was tied by King Gordias. Alexander sliced through the knot with his sword. Hence, to this day “cutting the Gordian knot” represents logical, out-of-the-box and creative problem solving.

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Those who combine logic with objectivity, creativity and imagination have truly discovered and successfully utilized the art and science of problem solving. They use both sides of their brains and are experts at untying the Gordian knot.

How do you become a better problem solver?

As mentioned, we solve problems every day. They can be routine or they can be whoppers. If you’re ready to move past the easy solution of ignorance, denial or blame-shifting and you want to take responsibility to solve problems, check out this helpful article about problem solving on Lifehack.org.

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Marilyn Rogers

Marketing Consultant | Content Strategist | Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

More Resources About Job Interviews

Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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