Problem Solving Skills That Will Save Your Sanity

Are your problem solving skills used at work also helpful at home? I think we all use problem solving skills between work and home without even realizing it. We just take a different approach depending on the audience.

I wrote about dealing with a difficult manager a few weeks ago, which was really a problem solving post. I added a bit of kid flare to it for this week’s post. Really, much of the problem solving we practice at work can be applied at home. While every situation is different, these tips include ways to maneuver the difficult personalities at work and possibly at home.

Don’t Take the Bait
At work: Sometimes it’s best to just take the calm approach. Try not to let the emotion take over. Believe me, I’ve asked too many questions and have disagreed with managers in the past. If they are looking to argue, it’s not worth it the energy or angst.

At home: For the most part, the kids don’t antagonize on purpose so when the emotion is at the boil over point, walk away for a minute or take a deep breath. Try not to engage until you cool down.

The Buy-In Approach
At work: “I see your point. The _________ has some possibilities. Have you considered the following ______________?”

You can make suggestions. Ultimately, he or she is the decision maker even if the decision is wrong in your view. That’s when “Don’t Take The Bait” kicks in for me.

At home: Acknowledge the kiddies for the good they have done. For example, congratulate your little one for dressing himself and resist the urge to tell him the pants are on backwards. He’ll figure it out later. It’s a job well done that he tried!

Manage the Manager Routine
At work: Uck. This is not a favorite of mine only because of its negative connotation. The reality is you can take some proactive steps with a manager. As you get to know your manager’s habits, you can take the approach to think ahead of the boss. If he or she regularly engages in the wrong thing, take the higher road with the approach of offering alternative suggestions or options. If it’s a verbal conversation, follow-up in writing with email.

At home: You know it’s meltdown city when you get everyone home after  a long day. Head it off by having snacks ready so you aren’t rushing to beat the meltdown clock. Think of “managing the manager” with your little one in mind.

Keep The Water Cooler Chat To A Minimum
At work:  The more you talk about others and the manager, the more likely it will come back around to you. Or, at the very least, it just makes for a negative work environment of complainers.

I just lived through this one and while I have to practice not engaging, the turmoil in my department recently taught me just how much negativity kills productivity. It sabotages any possible fun as well.

At home: If  your little one  had a bad day and hit grumpy status, ask him or her about one good thing that happened during the day. The conversation will strike up a lot of reflection and may even get him or her to open up about the bad day part.

Know When It’s Time To Call It A Day
At work: The writing is on the wall and it’s time to move on to a new opportunity. The harsh reality is that sometimes the work environment you find yourself in just isn’t a fit.

Taking small steps each day to change your work situation, starting a new business adventure or evaluating your next steps are all very inspiring things to continually do. If it’s time to move on, you know it already.

At home: Sometimes you just need a break. Being a working mom can  be tiring. When you feel like nothing is working, maybe it’s time to just call it a day and take some time for you. We all deserve it!

So there you have it! Problem solving at work can be used at home and vice versa for sure. The trick is to be sure not to talk to your manager like you talk to your 3 year old, even if it’s well deserved.


4 thoughts on “Problem Solving Skills That Will Save Your Sanity

  1. Oh this is a great post! I was honestly wondering how some might tackle this subject matter and you did it brilliantly. I especially love the part about “know when to not engage”. I fail at this miserably. I want to tackle every question, answer every point and sometimes fail to see when it’s wise to just walk away. This is a point I’ll be working on!!

    Thanks so much for joining WMW this week!!!


    1. Thanks Rachel! It’s funny when I stopped and really thought about it, we do a lot of problem solving in both worlds. We just communicate differently depending on who is in front of us. Happy WMW!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: