Practical Ways to Develop Critical Thinking on Your Team
“Hey Karin, I want to develop critical thinking—I really do. I want to empower my team and help them grow. But …you would be surprised some of the decisions they make or things they do.
How do I get my team to think more strategically? #AskingforaFriend.
What is Critical Thinking?
Critical thinking is a systematic process for gathering, synthesizing, and making sense of information in order to make informed decisions.
4 Ways to Help Your Team Think More Critically
Critical thinking is one of those leadership competencies that can sometimes feel hard to teach. And yet, most of the time when leaders complain that a manager is “missing that gene,” it turns out they’ve never been taught.
1. Ensure your team has a clear understanding of where you’re headed strategically.
Much of the time when managers complain that their employees are not strategic, they simply don’t have enough information or strategic context to make good decisions.
Ensure they can answer these 7 strategic questions.
2. Teach them how to vet their ideas in a strategic manner.
Our I.D.E.A. model can help them think through their ideas to make better decisions.
3. Ask strategic questions to help them think more deeply.
Ask open-ended questions that help people to analyze data and identify trends.
For example, what was different about April that caused the trend to reverse?
Or, why do you think customers are buying more on Saturdays in Roanoke, VA but Tuesdays are the big day in Columbia, MD?
4. Consider how you learned what you know and transfer that knowledge.
You might also consider how you developed these skills. How did you pick up the knowledge and insights you have now? And then, give your employees a similar experience to accelerate that learning.
You can also tell strategic stories to save them some time, and learn the lessons you learned the hard way.
What are your best practices to help your team develop critical thinking skills?