Develop Your Critical Thinking

Imagine one of your colleagues tells you that another coworker is not doing well in their job. When you check with that coworker, she tells you a completely different story. As a manager, how do you stay fair and objective when there are disagreements?

Being able to think carefully and break down a problem to find a solution is crucial for success. Asking thoughtful and practical questions is the foundation of critical thinking. Here are some ways to improve your ability to explore even the toughest subjects.

  1. Keep Your Ideas Flexible:
    When you’re trying to solve a problem, it helps to come up with a quick solution and then gather data to improve it. But it’s important to keep your solution flexible. If you get too attached to your first idea, you might ignore important information that leads to a better solution.
  2. Listen More Than You Speak:
    Active listening is crucial for asking great questions. It means truly understanding what someone else is saying and showing that you’re interested. This helps you understand their perspective and ask better questions.
  3. Ask Open-ended Questions:
    Instead of asking yes-or-no questions, ask questions that make people open up and share more. Open-ended questions encourage collaboration and allow people to express their views and problem-solve.
  4. Consider the Unusual:
    In problem-solving, groups often stick to a certain path without questioning it. Be the one to ask counterintuitive questions, challenging the group’s thinking and making them reconsider their ideas. Even if your question seems off at first, it might help the group find the right direction.
  5. Take Your Time:
    In our fast-paced world, we often rush to make decisions. But the best questions are often crafted after careful thought and reflection. Taking your time, marinating on a problem, and letting it simmer can lead to more meaningful questions and solutions.
  6. Pose Challenging Follow-up Questions:
    Don’t settle for simple answers. Ask deeper and more challenging follow-up questions to encourage critical thinking. This requires effort, but it’s the way to gain a deeper understanding of a topic.

Critical thinking is crucial for finding creative solutions to tough challenges. Developing this skill will help you handle new responsibilities, establish yourself in your organization, and tackle problems effectively. Instead of just answering questions, learn to formulate and ask thoughtful ones.

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