Critical thinking is vital for leaders
If you are a leader or want to become one, you probably know the importance of critical thinking. You need to be able to look at any issue objectively and address it in a way that allows you to evaluate it and form a judgment. This is the basis of any piece of advice that you might want to give away to your team, so you should make sure that you can get it right.
Unfortunately, not everybody has critical thinking as one of their strengths. It requires a lot of exercising since childhood, and you might have been lucky enough to be in an environment that stimulates it for you well enough. The good news is that, no matter how old are you, you still can develop your critical thinking by following one of our tips below:
# 1 – Write about your day
Journalism is one of the best ways to develop critical thinking. It allows you to review your day, take a step back, and try to make sense of what happened to you – fundamental steps to critical thinking development. So give it a go, even if you don’t feel like doing it daily. And if you want to take the opportunity also to brush up your writing skills, you can always contact an online service, such as the Essay Republic, to help you out
# 2 – A Problem a Day
This well-known technique gives you the chance to analyze something deeply so you can see what you can make of it. Just pick a problem of any kind – it can be a logic puzzle or a challenge at work – and spend 30 minutes or more just trying to solve it. If you can’t solve it, try to see all the different angles and consequences of that situation for the present and the future. Also, try to understand why it came to happen.
# 3 – Ask questions
If you want to be able to think critically about something, start by asking questions. Not only about a particular problem but everything. Do you know the way that children tend to ask “why” all the time? This is their way of developing critical thinking, among other things. So go back to your childhood and start questioning the world around you. And talking about assumptions…
# 4 – Defy your assumptions
Assumption is a silent enemy of critical thinking. If you think you already know everything, you won’t feel like you need to analyze what is happening to you. But we all know that we can’t have all the answers in life because there are many things that we don’t understand, plus the way that people feel and deal with facts, which might be very different from yours. So if you want to be a real leader, you will have to defy your assumptions and don’t let them control the way that you think.
# 5 – Analyze your thinking process
Another thing that you will have to do is analyze your thinking process. How do you think? Do you ignore problems? Do you overthink? Does thinking make you anxious? Do you analyze every single detail or do you only see the big picture? Do you write or draw or thoughts down? These are questions that will help you to understand the way that you think and decide if you need to improve it or adjust it somehow.
# 6 – Test your point of view
You might think that the way that you think is the best one. For starters, it has brought you this far, so you shouldn’t be completely wrong. But, if you want to develop your critical thinking, you should always be testing your point of view. Maybe you should try and put yourself in another person’s shoes and find out how you would act if you were in their place. Or ask them directly what they would do facing the same circumstances. You might surprise yourself.
# 7 – Face your prejudices
This probably is one of the most difficult things do to when it comes to improving critical thinking, but it is a crucial one. In order to improve the way that you think, you should be able to face your prejudices and get rid of them. Unfortunately, in many cases, we aren’t even aware of our prejudices. We see them as a normal part of our personality. Or we think that we are right about that, they don’t constitute prejudice at all. So you might need to start to listen to other people. Especially those who don’t appreciate your company very much, so to find out your prejudices and start a journey to overcome them.
# 8 – Make predictions
No, you don’t need to become a fortune teller. But you should start making predictions so to improve your critical thinking. Again, it isn’t about predicting the results of a match or the stock market. It is about situations that you might be confronted with within your life or somebody’s else – even a story in the newspaper can do. Step back and try to guess what will happen in the future depending on the decisions taken. Will it be better or worse? What if the choices were different? How would it reflect in the future scenario? Make as many predictions as you can so to evaluate different actions and their respective consequences.
# 9 – Play some games
Yes, now it is a fun time! You can develop your critical thinking a great deal just by playing some games. But not any game, of course. If you are a fan of board games, chess should probably be your first choice. Along with Monopoly, Risk, and Cluedo. Want to go for apps? Then try some of the best games to boost your brain, such as Brain Workout, Brain Age, or Brain Café and if you prefer word games, tools like Unscramblex are great to help you find combinations and increase your options in the game.
# 10 – Read books
Last but not least, read books. More specifically, read fiction books. Actually, even more specifically, read crime and thrillers novels, or anything with a plot full of twisters and a puzzle to solve. It will help you to brush up your imagination and play with different scenarios while trying to make predictions and putting yourself in a different point of view. See how a book can put together many of the tips above? So choose your favourite mystery and suspense author, from Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle to John Connolly, James Patterson, or Lee Child, and give it a go.
The bottom line
As you can see, there are many ways to improve your critical thinking. Some of them can complement each other, and others are stand-alone. In any case, choose those that make more sense to you and make the most of it. You will see the results in no time.
Dante Munnis is a blogger and idea maker from Stockholm who is interested in self-development, web related topics and success issues. He shares ideas for students living a better life and building habits that stick. To get strategies for boosting your mental and physical performance.