Critical thinking is a staple of college education, but it’s a skill that should carry on well after college.
The real challenge is to make sure you’re effectively showing managers how to employ critical thinking skills in their everyday tasks and when dealing with employees.
SmartBlog on Leadership provides three questions that are surefire ways to encourage employees to start thinking critically. Not only should you ask your managers these questions, but make it clear they should be engaging their teams with this type of questioning as well.
‘I hear your question. What’s your answer?’
Make it a policy that if employees approach a supervisor with a problem, they must provide at least one solution on the spot. This will spur collaboration right from the get-go and force employees to do some critical thinking before they present the problem to a superior.
‘What would you do if I weren’t here?’
This question encourages employees to be self-sufficient and not rely solely on superiors when problems arise. When they tell you what they’d do, consider answering with more questions like:
- “What are the risks if we take this action?”
- “What if we did A instead of B?”
- “What if the opposite were true?”
‘Are you using your brain or your gut?’
Nothing wrong with using intuition but it needs to be backed up with logic. When employees come to you with with a decision based on their gut, consider following up with these questions:
- “Why do you think this will work?”
- “What assumptions have you made?”
- “What alternatives might we consider?”
How do you encourage critical thinking in the workplace? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.