Clickbait, post-truth, trolling, alternative facts, catfishing, fake news – the list goes on. Public discourse has become punctuated with buzzwords that signal a general erosion of the integrity with which people reason or communicate with one another. Gone are the days when individuals, or even institutions, could be trusted to convey information free of bias. If someone is talking, there’s a good chance they’re willing to lie just to grab your attention, which makes it all the more important to think critically in order to avoid the pitfalls of misinformation.
Critical thinking is an essential skill to have when it comes to leadership and decision-making. By definition, critical thinking is a fundamental ability to question. It is an inclination to constantly ask why, rather than accept new information at face value. Critical thinking enables leaders to distinguish between useful, and useless information, with the singular aim of developing conclusions that are based on factual investigation.
Those in leadership have a higher duty to embrace critical thinking given the fact that their choices impact numerous other people. Just by function alone, leaders juggle more responsibility than junior employees. They are expected to contemplate and resolve multiple problems simultaneously, a task which when contaminated by misinformation can produce disastrous results. Critical thinking lends itself to sober leadership. It fosters conscientious decision-making by suppressing impulse. Rather than being reactionary to events in the business environment, critical thinking empowers leaders to adapt to, or even leverage, unpredictability. Here are six basic Do’s and Don’ts of how to practice effective critical thinking.
Do be prepared to identify bad information:
Discerning leaders are always alert to if and when information they receive is inaccurate. A strong critical thinker is the type of person who can identify a problem immediately it becomes apparent. Within a business environment this is an invaluable skill when it comes to dealing with issues such as faulty accounting, false advertising, conflict resolution or contract negotiation just to name a few.
Don’t just listen to one side of an issue:
One of the easiest things to do when receiving information is to accept it without question. However critical thinking demands a willingness to explore every possible perspective of a given issue. It’s not just enough to identify bad information, leadership also requires the initiative to investigate and explore multiple arguments in order to develop the most relevant conclusion.
Do be logical about analyzing information:
Rationality is the bedrock of critical thinking. The only way to determine the legitimacy of a premise is to systematically and objectively evaluate its implications. Relying on assumptions more than facts to make final decisions increases the likelihood of employing bad judgement.
Don’t overthink the situation:
Thinking critically isn’t a mindset that should be used to get tangled in redundant questioning. Critical thinking has an aim, that is, to discover truth. Keeping sight of this objective is necessary to avoid becoming caught up in bullheadedness. Rather than debating over and over again about a problem or question, seek to solve it with finality.
Do embrace efficiency:
Critical thinking accomplishes the most good when it is guided by efficiency. Not only is it beneficial to avoid wasting time with endless questions, it’s also important to develop solutions that are easy and practical to apply. Remember that the shortest distance between two points is always a straight line. Embracing efficiency makes it possible to act on an issue with speed, and also to conserve resources in the process.
Being critical takes work. It often denotes going out of one’s way not just to question assumptions but to strive towards resolving any uncovered inconsistencies. This is an obligation that requires effort, as well as follow-through to fulfill any and all investigations to their logical conclusions. There’s no point to being critical if you don’t have the resolve to right any wrongs you may discover.
Critical thinking is vital to leadership because it is part and parcel of responsibility. Any leader who makes blind decisions without logically contemplating the validity of their assumptions is recklessly gambling with the public trust that has been placed upon them. Be the type of leader who looks before they leap. Check out more of RISE Programs’ Blogs for helpful advice on leadership, and remember to spread the word by sharing this post. If you like what you just read from our blog, you’ll love the various informative workshops and events listed on our website and social media. Whether you’re interested in personal development, or overall improvement of your business, give us a call at 1 (888) 823-7757 to find out how RISE Programs can help you break past your daily struggles and start soaring in success.