Problem-solving has a time and a place.
Problem-solving has an agenda.
Problem-solving is task-oriented; it is not a power struggle.
Problem-solving has two distinct phases: a problem definition phase and a problem solution phase.
When defining a problem:
- Be specific (refer to what both partners can observe)
- Be brief
- Express your feelings about the behavior which is the subject of the conflict
- Brainstorm solutions
- Evaluate their costs and benefits to each partner and to the relationship
- Decide on the best solution
- Be willing to compromise; problem-solving involves give-and-take
- Discuss only one problem at a time
- Paraphrase what you hear your partner saying and check the accuracy of your paraphrase
Remember, the attitude with which you approach problem-solving is very important. Problem-solving requires collaboration and problem-solving requires that each problem being discussed is seen as a mutual problem.
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