A Short Guide to Building Your Team’s Critical Thinking Skills
With critical thinking being one of the most in-demand skills for job seekers, you would think that schools should train applicants to be outstanding thinking people and employers would be willing to cultivate those skills in current workers. Unfortunately, both are completely untrue.
As indicated by a 2016 overview of 63,924 directors and 14,167 late alumni, basic reasoning is the main delicate aptitude supervisors feel new alumni are missing, with 60% inclination thusly. This affirms what a Wall Street Journal investigation of state-sanctioned grades given to green beans and seniors at 200 schools found: the normal alumni from the absolute most esteemed colleges show next to zero improvements in basic thoroughly considering four years. Managers passage no better. Half rate their representatives’ basic deduction aptitudes as normal or more terrible.
How can people be taught how to think critically?
It starts with the fact that the logical thought is very much in agreement. It gets less obvious from there. Most workers lack an effective way to evaluate critical thinking skills critically and most administrators do not know how to teach team members in need of improved thought. Most managers instead use a sink or swim approach, which ultimately creates workarounds to keep people from taking important decisions who can’t figure how to ‘wet.’
But it doesn’t have to be this way
Our team at Zarvana has focused on three research models to deputize what critical thinking is and how it is developed: Halpern Critical Thinking Analysis, Pearson ‘s RED Critical Thinking Model, and Bloom’s Taxonomy. We’ve built the Critical Thinking Roadmap through these models, a process that breaks down critical thinking into four observable phases: the capacity to run, synthesize, suggest, and generate.
Here you can evaluate your team members’ critical thinking skills, how you can help them, and when a team member has mastered a phase and is ready to go.
When members of the team only begin a new task or were never asked for their own opinions, they are still in the loop. Team members do what they are asked to do in this phase. This may seem basic, and even precritical, but to transform instructions into action requires several of the skills that Halpern describes as critical thinking. When you can answer ‘yes’ to these 3 questions, you know that your staff should do so:
- Do they complete all parts of their assignments?
- Do they complete them on time?
- Do they complete them at or close to your standard of quality?
When a team member fails here, make sure that they understand your orders by asking you to rearrange every assignment before it starts. Start with more urgent deadlines for smaller contracts. Once the work has been started, ask them to explain what they have done, how they have done it, and why they have. You know they are ready for the next stage if team leaders discuss how to develop their job.
During this phase, team members learn how to sort out and understand a range of information. For example, after an important meeting, they can summarize the key takeovers. You would like the following questions “yes” to be answered:
- Can they identify all the important insights?
- Do they exclude all unimportant insights?
- Do they accurately assess the relative importance of important insights?
- Can they communicate important insights clearly and succinctly?
Synthesis is a skill that, like any other, grows with practice. Try to give team members who are getting stuck here as many chances to synthesize as possible. You could ask them to share takeaways after a call with a client, for example, or after an important meeting. When you check in with them, make them share the insights first and in a succinct manner.
If they are still struggling to identify what is important, try leading them through resource-constrained thought experiments that force them to isolate the most important information (e.g., what if you could only share one insight, what if you only had 5 minutes, what if we only had a thousand dollars). You know team members are ready for Phase 3 when they can provide a summary of the important insights and implications for future work on the spot without preparation.
Team members in this phase do not recognize the importance of what needs to be done. Our main aim is for team members, even if their recommendations do not suit your opinion, to make consistently sound recommendations. This is how you can test their advancement:
- Do they always provide a recommendation when asking you questions instead of relying on you to come up with answers?
- Do they demonstrate appreciation for the potential downsides of their recommendation?
- Do they consider alternatives before landing on a recommendation?
- Are their recommendations backed by strong, sensible reasoning?
At the point when colleagues enter this stage, start by expecting them to make suggestions before you share your assessment. When they are, request that they share their method of reasoning, the choices they considered, and the drawbacks of their proposals. This pushes them to accomplish more than share the primary thought that comes into their mind. Colleagues are prepared to move to Phase 4 when they make sensible proposals that think about sound business judgment work that isn’t their own.
Team leaders must be able to build something from nothing to work in this stage of thought. For example, the training system for new hires must be changed and a project created to do so. At this point, they are able to turn the vision into projects that can be implemented in other leaders (and on their own). Evaluate your progress on these questions:
- Do they propose high-value work that doesn’t follow logically from work they are already doing?
- Can they convert your and others’ visions into feasible plans for realizing those visions?
- Can they figure out how to answer questions you have but don’t know how to answer them?
You often have to model this thinking for them in order to help the team members move into this stage. Invite them to follow their own generative process and participate in it. Many people don’t get there at this stage because they don’t allow themselves to make the kind of open thought they need. In inviting them to participate, you show them that you don’t just have to take time to think but that’s necessary. It doesn’t matter. You can also ask them to keep their ideas for the project, department, or organization improvement. Please encourage them to regularly share these ideas with you. Then the ideas for showing them the workout was more of a practical activity seriously veteran.
It is time that we dismiss the belief that critical thinking is either an inherent ability that can not be established or competence that can only be gained through experience. Start utilizing this systematic approach in the four phases of critical thought, guiding team leaders. This helps the team leaders develop one of the most challenging skills in today’s world.