When you have a leadership role in an organization, you must constantly gather information, analyze scenarios and make important decisions that affect many people. It is essential for you as a manager to be able to think clearly and objectively in a variety of situations so you can act decisively and without bias.
As you hone your own critical thinking skills on the job, encourage your employees to do the same. Being independent and analytical thinkers will help them perform their jobs better and provide continuous employee development.
Take Your Time
Jump to conclusions or make a snap decision, and you may regret your haste later on. Be patient and methodical, and don’t let stress rush a critical resolution. Consider all the information and the people involved, determine your goals and objectives and weigh your options. The more viable options you have, the better your chances are of making an informed decision. Most management training courses stress the need to develop critical thinking skills.
Avoid the pitfall of letting your personal opinions, assumptions or biases cloud your judgment. Teach yourself to take a step back from a situation and view it objectively before making a decision. Scrutinize different sides of an argument to discover the credibility and relevance of each. Keep your mind open to new ideas and perspectives, and ask others on your team for their input. Working through difficult problems with other people can often introduce you to ideas you may not think of on your own.
Practice, Practice, Practice
You need to exercise your critical thinking skills the way you exercise muscles in the body. The more you use them, the stronger they become. Start introducing real and hypothetical situations to your team and working through them to reach a conclusion. Practice putting aside your emotions, examining facts, challenging assumptions and listing options. This is a valuable tool in employee development, and it will reinforce your own learning as a manager.
Find out about our Listen First to Understand course.