Ah, the office go-to person, that one colleague who always knows just the right questions to ask. They also seem to handle tricky situations with ease, while others just crumble under pressure. Are these traits simply a product of natural talent? Perhaps, but they are most likely a result of advanced critical thinking more than anything, and that is something we mere mortals can develop. Critical thinking, once honed, can help you clearly reason through problems like you were born to solve them. As managing complex issues and making good decisions are ultra-crucial to real professional success, this skill also serves as your key to climbing up the career ladder. If you’re ready to shine and move up, understanding critical thinking is the first step, so let’s get into the details.

The Core Elements of Critical Thinking

Critical thinking isn’t just one skill but a combination of several different abilities that must all come together harmoniously to be effective. Here are the key components:


This process involves breaking down complex information into simpler, more manageable parts to understand a problem or situation better.


Once you’ve broken down the information, you need to judge or assess its reliability and usefulness.


This element requires that you become your own trusty coach—carefully reviewing and refining your thought process, reasoning, and decision-making to ensure they‘re not swayed by personal biases and are clear, fair, and well-grounded in facts.


After collating useful and reliable information, it’s time to draw conclusions, which will help in making data-based educated guesses and outcome predictions.


Unless you’re a one-man team that answers to no one, providing a sound explanation is highly necessary. You must explain your conclusion or recommended course of action in a clear and concise manner so others can understand and evaluate their merit or the logic behind your thought process. When done correctly, it leads to better, more open communication and collaboration within the team or organization.

Do you want to confirm if you have these core abilities or perhaps just want to practice for professional growth through critical thinking? Then, check out platforms designed for such purposes, such as Assessment-Training, an e-learning website for assessments often used for pre-employment, employee development, and leadership training, among many others. The Watson Glaser Critical Thinking Test package is suitable for gauging your critical thinking abilities, as well as getting a deeper, more profound understanding of your thinking patterns and areas for improvement.

Benefits of Critical Thinking in the Workplace

Having the critical thinking skill set makes one valuable as they bring these benefits to the workplace:

Better Problem Solving

If you have to describe a critical thinker, the first thing you’d probably say is that they are good at solving problems. Indeed, critical thinking helps people thoroughly understand concerns and situations, which in turn allows them to come up with more effective solutions.

Improved Decision Making

When you’re a critical thinker, you scrutinize all information and filter everything you get through necessary evaluation to make sure they are valid and correct. While this may take more time, it results in better, more informed decisions and helps avoid ineffective, possibly costly mistakes.

Enhanced Productivity

Critical thinking boosts productivity by combining efficient problem-solving, better decision-making, and reducing avoidable errors. While this may not be the fastest approach, it sure gets the job done thoroughly and effectively.

Increased Creativity

Critical thinking does not mean a critical thinker needs to do it alone. Besides examining the problems from different angles, getting other people’s perspectives can lead to innovative or outside-the-box solutions that can be overlooked with a narrow focus.

Stronger Teamwork

Critical thinkers are generally more welcoming to others’ opinions and ideas, as they are not seen as a challenge or threat to their own but rather as perspectives that can be useful. With this openness, team members typically feel encouraged to share their thoughts and participate in solving concerns, allowing naturally stronger teamwork and collaboration.

Greater Adaptability

Critical thinkers tend to thrive in a complex, fast-paced work environment as they can quickly and accurately process new information. This allows them to adapt faster and more effectively to unexpected changes or challenges—an advantage that results in another advantage!

How to Develop Critical Thinking Skills

So, how can one develop critical thinking skills? As you probably guessed, it’s not that easy, but here are some simple ways that can get you started:

Asking questions

You have to stay curious and always try digging deeper into issues, not settling for superficial or shallow explanations. Start by asking “why” or “how” to better understand the situation, including its causes.

Becoming a better listener

Active listening is listening with the full intent to understand and absorb the message, not just to respond or form a judgment right away. Keep this in mind so you can fully engage in conversations, meetings, brainstorming sessions,  and touch bases.

Considering multiple viewpoints

As mentioned, a critical thinker looks at problems from different perspectives and, when possible, seeks other people’s opinions. Do this to understand all aspects of the concern and come up with solutions.

Reflecting on your own thought processes and biases

Having unconscious biases and making assumptions without realizing them are far more common than anyone admits. To overcome these, be aware of what influences your thought processes and decisions, then make a conscious effort to think beyond them.

Think Critically

Critical thinking is ultra-crucial for professional growth and success. Now that you have the principles of what makes a good critical thinker, it’s time for you to become one in real life so you can start boosting your career. It isn’t simple as you have to learn how to quickly filter out information that may not be accurate or useful, listen to others, not overlook the different facets of an issue, make decisions, and solve problems efficiently. That said, it can be learned and with patience and constant practice, it is a skill set that can become yours. So just keep going and challenging yourself to think critically; your future self and career will thank you for it.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About The Author