The following are tips for problem solving.
- 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
When solving problems:
- 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
Also, when defining and solving problems:
- discuss only one problem at a time
- paraphrase what you hear your partner saving 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.