Action Wheel Leadership

Problem Solving Steps

Action Wheel Leadership Site Map

Following basic problem solving steps offers resolution to both easy and complex problems. Any problem solving methodology has these essential componants.

The problem solving exercises used by Action Wheel Leadership are based on the leadership model developed by Dr. Robert Terry in his book Authentic Leadership: Courage In Action.


Problem Solving Steps

You may not realize that you already follow basic problem solving steps on a daily basis. When faced with a difficult situation or issue, problem solving skills help achieve a positive resolution. Identifying these steps and incorporating them, will allow even the most difficult problems to be solved easily.

Defining the Problem

When something is not working whether it is a machine, a family or a situation in a workplace, defining the problem is the first of several problem solving steps to coming up with a solution.

Review the situation. Write down what you feel the problem is. At first glance, the problem may appear to be something easily resolved.

Continue to look at the problem in depth, writing down any other factors that could be part of the problem.

Information can help, but it can also be deceiving. A work-related problem may not be what it initially appears to be. Framing an issue or problem correctly is the first step to resolution and is the first step in using the Action Wheel.

Investigate the Circumstances

Before deciding on a solution for any problem, it is important to gather information. Asking questions and asking others about the problem will help to clarify the problem. If you gather information and avoid making quick decisions, the ability to find a good solution increases. Speaking with everyone involved with the problem presents many different viewpoints. By gathering data and investigating the circumstances that surround the problem a larger view of the problem is possible.


It is usually very beneficial to involve other people when working to find a solution to a work related problem. Working together with others fosters cooperation. By working together, many potential solutions can be discussed. The information that has been gathered should be used to help find a solution that will solve the problem in the best possible manner. Teamwork provides a foundation that will foster a more productive and streamlined problem-solving group who in time will be looked to for solving other problems when they arise.

Initiating the Solution

Once a solution has been agreed upon, providing a brief explanation of the problem and the chosen solution should be shared. Even using these problem solving steps, initiating a solution, without providing information about how the resolution was reached, could lead to negative feelings. By explaining the problem and the details surrounding the problem, the solution should be clear to all people involved. This simple step will ensure that no one person or group feels uncomfortable.


Once a solution to a problem has been put into play, it is wise to check back to make sure that the solution was the right choice for the problem. Confirmation that the solution to the problem was correct, the original problem should no longer occur. In some cases, even well thought-out solutions will turn out to be ineffective. Should this occur, rethink the situation by beginning at the first step and continue until an alternative solution has been found.

Using problem solving steps regularly will improve critical thinking processes. These processes, over time will become easier, allowing for a faster resolution to any problem that may arise.

Related Pages:

Teaching Problem Solving Skills

Types of Decision Making

Action Wheel Assessment

Back to Problem Solving Exercises

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