Problem solving (debate, communication) seems quite easy, but when you are having to problem solve with another person, or in a group; it can obviously make it a much more complex endeavor. It requires many traits that a lot of people just don’t have. Two of those traits that are inherently vital are open mindedness and a complete willingness to listen; take a minute and let that truly soak in. If you are unable to do these things there is no reason to read further.
Now, I did not say you have to agree, that isn’t necessarily part of problem solving. Being open minded enough though, to admit you’re wrong or that someone else has a better way of doing something; is a crucial characteristic to have when navigating the often rough road of group problem solving. Having an open mind also means that you know when to be flexible and when to stand your ground on something; essentially it’s the old line, “pick your battles”. The more often that you show flexibility could lead to that being given in return, so bend on agenda A and they may bend on agenda B, which was more important to you anyways.
The ability to listen, now this is a whole different beast. You have to get inside and understand what someone is talking about or proposing in order to really listen. A discussion needs to happen until both parties, or all parties, at least understand what is being stated; again, agreement does not need to happen for the act of listening to be reached. These traits are imperative though, to getting anywhere in political debate, business meetings, family relationships, etc.