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Conscientious people as problem solvers in the workplace
2 Jul 2018

Working Better With Conscientious People As Problem Solvers

Employers often prize conscientious people. Their focus, organization and discipline do well in the workplace. Yet, downsides exist. Working with conscientious people as problem solvers is tough. They often hold true to standards. That means they think inside the box more than others.

Understanding What It Means To Be Conscientious

Why is that? It begins with understanding what conscientious means. It’s motivation to focus on doing something well. The two keywords are “focus” and “well.”

First, take “well.” How does one know he is doing well? Standards exists. He compares his work to those. Standards come to us in many forms. Rules, goals, processes, plans, principles, protocols and best practices are just a few.

These standards form the box. Doing well means being in the box. Breaking standards or going against them means not doing well.

Now, take “focus.” Distractions have a hard time knocking conscientious people off task. When it comes to conscientious people as problem solvers then, focus is very key to success. However, it’s at the cost of opportunities. It’s like searching a dark room with a laser. A lamp sees more.

It can be challenging to work with conscientious people as problems solvers unless one can alter the problem-solving process.

Conscientious people as problem solvers are more likely to think inside the box than other people because they are more likely to adhere to processes and other standards.

Conscientious People As Problem Solvers

What does this mean when it comes to conscientious people as problem solvers? It means the type of problem plays a big part. Look at it as two types. First, there are those that fit an existing problem-solving process. Then, there are those that don’t. Conscientious people will do better with the first type.

By nature though, conscientious people will focus on the process. They won’t see solutions existing outside the process. Therefore, to help them here, have them use a different process. Changing the problem-solving process is a great way to get other solutions.

One can do this by changing things like the steps, decision points and criteria. It can also be done by changing roles in the process or including different people.

Conscientious People As Better Problem Solvers

Still, even this is challenging. Conscientious people are often very principled. That means holding dear to processes that have worked for them in the past. Using new ones are tough.

The manager in these cases will need to prompt, encourage and follow up often. It’s possible though. Moreover, once done, the new process will become the new habit for the conscientious person especially when they see it solve problems.

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