The 5 P’s of Problem Solving

The 5 P’s of Problem Solving

Contributor: Katie Karpinski

Leaders are faced with unique challenges every day. Not only are they expected to lead effectively, monitor diligently, and accomplish their own tasks proficiently, but they must also navigate the murky waters of group dynamics. While sometimes forgotten, the synergy of a team is crucial to accomplishing even the most trivial of tasks. When problems arise in the team, either interpersonal or simply work-related, it is a leader’s job to solve these problems properly and get the group back on track. However, problem solving (especially in a group setting) isn’t an easy task. If you’re interested in how you can improve your problem solving skills as a leader, check out our 5 P’s of Problem Solving.

As a leader when problem-solving you should be…


It’s easy in tense situations to let your emotions get the best of you. When a problem arises, you may be angry or frustrated. However, this type of reaction is not helpful in actually resolving the problem. Instead, it’s important that you set an example for the rest of your team and keep a professional tone. Staying calm and collected will show your team how you expect them to behave when handling problems in the future. When solving problems in general, it’s always important to maintain a composed tone to avoid rash comments.


Certain problems and issues are unavoidable. Even the best teams with the best leaders are going to face their fair share of struggles. As a leader, it’s important to not dwell on the negative aspects of the situation and instead focus on the positive. Instead of viewing issues as failures, think of them as opportunities; instead of reflecting on your mistakes, host a brainstorming session for how you can improve in the future. Not only will this positive thinking boost employee morale, but it can also lead to some pretty great ideas!

Polite (no finger pointing!)

When a mistake is made or a problem occurs, there is a natural tendency for a group to try and place blame on the person who made the error. Logically it makes sense: find the source of the problem and remedy it. While this strategy may work in certain instances, leaders should be weary to encourage finger pointing. People make mistakes and emphasizing these mistakes will only hurt the confidence of the team member as well as decrease overall morale—not to mention that playing the “blame game” is a huge waste of time and energy. When a serious problem occurs, it’s important not to waste time playing the blame game. Instead, gather your team and work together to find a solution.


Conflict is, by nature, an uncomfortable occurrence. In the workplace, when a problem arises this can result in personal or offensive comments or accusations about coworkers. To combat this, having tangible and concrete data to reference is very important. Being privy to the data and objective information you have can be very helpful in settling any work place disagreement or problem as it provides you and your employees with impartial and definite information that you can use to brainstorm and deliver a proper solution.


After solving a problem, it’s easy to assume that the case is closed. However, as a leader you need to be aware of the effects of a given problem and monitor the results of the decision that was made. Monitoring the results of decisions can help you in making future decisions, and also ensures that implementation is followed correctly.

Whether you’re the owner of a small business, or a manager at a major firm just remember the 5 P’s and get ready to lead!