Critical Thinking

What is critical thinking?

Critical thinking refers to the ability to think independently and reflectively to make considered decisions. Simply put, it’s a deeper form of thinking where we question, analyse and evaluate the information we receive – rather than accepting it at face value.

Critical thinking impacts all areas of life and involves problem-solving, collaboration and creative thinking to create unique solutions. Today’s companies value employees and leaders who can objectively analyse a situation and its outcomes. And, in the age of automation, machine learning and AI, these skills are more important than ever.

Why is critical thinking important in the workplace?

The fact is that it’s easy for employees to stick to current workplace practices and assume that any new problem can be solved using existing methods. However, as Murkowski states, a critical thinker “does not make any assumptions, and using the process of critical thinking in the workplace removes the temptation to immediately classify every issue under something that has happened in the past.”

Compared with individuals who excel in memorising information, employees who engage in critical thinking not only absorb and accumulate information but are also able to logically connect ideas, evaluate arguments, identify inconsistencies and solve complicated problems. This allows them to constantly innovate.

According to a report from the World Economic Forum, HR experts have identified critical thinking as one of the top 5 skills over the next five years. From law, education and research to medicine, finance and business, the ability to deduce information without bias is essential. Regardless of the industry, critical thinking is especially crucial for roles that require strategic input and people management.

Although critical thinking is classified as a human or soft skill, it is still possible to improve overall critical thinking efficiencies through training and feedback. This empowers people to learn from their mistakes, recognise opportunities, identify the causes of problems, and research and anticipate likely futures – and creates critical thinkers who can overcome challenges and improve business outcomes.