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Problem solving

I am giving a series of lectures about transversal skills here on the university, and there are few that could benefit ambassador of a LUG. This can be used in any other situations in life. And today, I would like to speak about problem and conflict solving. I will not go into details, I will just give you how to, and if you want more, please find me (before) party on Fan Weekends and we can talk more :)

Please note, things I write here are fantastic for leaders, but an ambassador can only be part of decision making group, or even just a messenger - transversal skills can be used by all, but I will make examples from a leader point of view, teaching you how to be a leader in addition of sharing my knowledge.

"Stealing knowledge and experience of others is a time always well spent. I tend to go on one educational course per year to stay in mental shape and to evolve. Dehaka from Starcraft II share a philosophy that I really like, although his is extreme: "Evolve of perish - I evolve - I survive". Ok, let's start:

Problem and conflict solving

First of all, maybe you noticed I tend not to use word "problem" when I type on LAN. I use word like "issue". Not to go into details, it affects person who you are talking to better. Try doing it.

The interesting thing, in my culture "problem" is used to describe something really serious. But in truth, it is just an obstacle we come on almost everyday basis, and it is a happening that makes us get out of routine and activate tools we would not usually use - so problems can be challenges. Opportunities for new standpoint views, new beginnings. In Chinese language (and please correct me if I am wrong), the sign for problem and opportunity is the same.

Every problem has a solution. They are not ideal, nor can they be satisfactory every time. Some problems can't be solved but can be overcomed - that is also a solution.

The point of problem is: input can be small, but output can be huge. Unbelievable huge, if we postpone problem solving.

There are eight mental blockators for problem solving:

  • "there is only one possible answer" - this make you lose any compromise regarding problem solving
  • "That is not logical!" - believing only our logic is good one -. "Follow the rules!" - the world around us is changing What was common 100 years ago now is not. The argument "because you are supposed to" is not an argument, it demonstrates exclusivity
  • "Be practical" - believe that solution should not "disturb the water" or make waves - anything just not to get out of comfort zone.
  • "You are immature" something used a lot by parents. This means "I will make decision for you"
  • "That is not my job!" showing insecurity and wish not to take responsibility. Everything that affects us personally is our job
  • "I don't want to make mistake" - we learn n mistakes. I had a ton of argument with Jan on this subject, as we made a ton of mistakes through our activities - but that was because we were doing a lot. So I sent him a picture of three pencils, two perfectly sharp and beautiful, and one used , with note "the only reason those two are so pretty and sharp is because they were never used"

When we are solving a problem there are only three ways we do it:

Aggressive (I tend to go through this path): fighting for your own rights you jeopardize others, believing that you are always right or that only you are right, focus on yourself, influencing others, but not allowing to be influenced

Passive: going for a goal to avoid conflict, be on safe, pushing your needs aside (not only needs but interest, skills etc.), believing you can't make success so it is best not to try, allowing others to make a choice for you, so no responsibility, getting from others help or empathy or pity

Assertive: fighting for your rights without jeopardizing others, being ready for communication, influencing others, respecting yourself without humiliating others, trying to find out what is best, not who is right.

we can talk in person more about how you can recognize which problem solving way is used and how it will affect you or people around you.

In essence, there are three approaches in problem solving:

  • avoidance: refusing to acknowledge that problem exists
  • solving when it happens: remedying the consequences of problem
  • foreseeing and stopping the problem: planning and preparing

This is a model for problem solving:

  • Identify the problem
  • Define the problem
  • Examine the problem
  • Act on plan
  • Look at consequences formulated to form IDEAL SHIELD is not the worst:)

This is in short, each of these steps can be talked about in great complicity, but it can be a guiding path to where you want to go, when you are lost.

Conflict - that is a problem that get out of control and become personal. It happens when two or more sides do not agree about realization of some idea, task or goal.

There are two methodological views on conflict:

  • traditional, that say conflict is a negative thing and makes it a fight between two or more parties
  • modern, that see conflict as disagreement

It literary depends on you if a problem in your club that turns into conflict will become a fight or disagreement

You can identify four elements of interpersonal conflicts:

  • There are opposite interests
  • There is a conscience that interests are conflicting
  • Believe that other party has already threatened our interest
  • And action of any side to jeopardize interest of other side.

And when conflict happens, it is usually for one of four reasons:

  • Bad planning, we fail to predict reactions of other party
  • Assuming, my personal that is making so many conflicts, when assuming other party will or would not agree on something, wants something or not
  • Semantic distortion - this is something that happens on LAN a lot, and it happens when we do not anticipate level of understanding and put into equation social, cultural, educational, heritage and other aspects
  • Badly formulated message - also happening on LAN and in clubs in general, when message is formulate in a way that other party do not understands it fully - this leads to misunderstanding

So, how can you fix this?

Five ways :)

  • Competing (a trap I tend to fall into), selfish, not- cooperational
  • Avoiding (non-selfish, not-cooperational) - passive aggressive
  • Cooperation (selfish, cooperation)( in essence trade, trying to take as much as possible for us)
  • Adjusting (non-selfish, cooperative) , agreeing on other side conditions
  • Compromise - best solution :) and it means agreeing about idea or goal or action where both sides give up part of their interest and "meet" on half road Meaning both sides "traded" with other side for common good :)

this "trade" is best done using communication and other transversal skills, literary "giving what we can, taking what we need", and other side does it as well. It can sound a little robust, but in essence, it is truth. And it can help with problem and conflict solving if you have a clear picture what is happening.

There are many exercises that develop those skills, for those who want to know more, we can do this when we meet on conventions.

Have a great day and continue to smile