Thanks to social media and its deluge of information, the term “critical thinking” is becoming increasingly popular. But what exactly does this term mean? Above all, this is a metacognitive process, that is, a way of thinking about the way we think.
Critical thinking helps us evaluate information more accurately and gain a better understanding of complex problems, two skills that can prove invaluable in the workplace.
From the type of questions you should ask to the key habit you should adopt to become a better thinker, these guidelines will help your organization reap the benefits of critical thinking.
Adopt a Critical Thinking Mindset
More than a tool to be used only in certain situations, critical thinking is a mindset that should permeate your entire organization. Whether it’s the little everyday things to the big business decisions, this approach can improve every aspect of a company. Make sure your team adopts the right mindset by embedding these habits into the culture of your organization.
- Ask a lot of open-ended questions
- Differentiate ideas from opinions
- Ask team members how they would solve a specific problem
- Encourage people to offer opinions
Reading is Key
The importance of reading in the development of this important skill cannot be overstated. First of all, reading helps you gain an almost intuitive understanding of how to structure ideas. In addition to the obvious advantage of increasing your expertise in your field, reading has many other useful benefits, including improving concentration, enhancing empathy, expanding your vocabulary, and helping you learn to evaluate information and data more rigorously.
Exercises to Develop Critical Thinking
Practice makes perfect, and critical thinking is no exception to this centuries-old rule. As any other skill, critical thinking can be honed and improved with targeted exercises. For example, these are some activities that can help you and your team strengthen your critical thinking abilities:
- Work through a challenge backward
- Use different mediums to express ideas (written, graphics, numbers)
- Explain processes as if talking to a six-year-old
- Open yourself to new content
- Maintain a journal to analyze successes and mistakes
- Analyze your own writing
- Use brain teasers and logic puzzles
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