Critical Thinking: What Is It And How Can You Develop This Skill?

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Tatiana Melnichuk (Apr 25, 2022)

First of all, let’s define what critical thinking is. In general, it is the ability to objectively analyze events, incoming information and arguments; approach an issue from different sides; and form conclusions based on the analysis. Developing critical thinking is relevant not only for work but also for life—today we’re inundated with huge amounts of information every day, and in order to be able to analyze this information and determine our position based on balanced facts, it is important to look at situations critically.

Critical thinking allows you to always soberly assess the situations taking place in your work, give an objective assessment, including your own actions and the actions of others, effectively negotiate and find the best way out of ambiguous situations. That is why large companies, when hiring employees, pay close attention to the soft skills of a candidate, especially if they are applying for top positions.

So, how can you develop critical thinking?

Practice analyzing.

Turn the events happening around you into facts. Learn to separate them from emotions. Emotions often prevent us from thinking critically, because they reduce everything to the emotional component, which cannot be relied on. Study different points of view on a specific topic. Read more, broaden your horizons and work with information—the more you “dissect” any information material, the more chances you have to get to the bottom of it.

Pay attention to self-criticism.

There should always be a certain amount of healthy self-criticism in your actions and behavior. The keyword here is healthy because it is important to maintain balance and not slip into self-flagellation. Learn to adequately evaluate yourself and your actions, and determine your strengths and growth areas. I work in recruiting, so I will give an example from my practice: In the work of a recruiter, self-criticism is vital for an objective assessment of a candidate, because, in order to evaluate others, you must first be able to objectively evaluate yourself.

Build productive communication.

If you conduct a dialogue calmly and kindly, without insults and rudeness, truly listening and hearing the interlocutor, you thereby increase the chances of getting some useful insight into the process of interaction. It can give you the opportunity to look at the situation from a new angle and come to a conclusion that you would not have come to otherwise. Therefore, the ability to conduct effective, productive communication also affects the development of critical thinking.

Develop your forecasting skills.

This point is quite closely related to the first one. Analyze information and build forecasts based on the analysis, think over the likely development of events and try to answer for yourself why it will be exactly like this. Such forecasting, again, allows you to study a specific situation from different sides, get certain insights into the process and come to an objective conclusion.

Today, it’s crucial for employees and managers to develop the skill of thinking critically—all you need to do is start. The result could have a positive impact on all fields of your life, both personal and professional, because a high level of critical thinking has a good effect on communication (including business). It allows you to form objective conclusions and cut off the excess of information garbage, focusing on facts and analyzing them.

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