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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 May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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