SOFT SKILLS

CRITICAL THINKING

With technological advancement, constant connection with social media and the internet, we are privileged to receive too much information, left with more choices to choose from, find n number of solutions/answers to one problem. But the vital question is, with all this information available, Are we making the right choice? Are we making the right decisions?

Most of the time, we make the wrong choices or decisions.

So how do you improve this?

The answer is by developing critical thinking skills.

WHAT IS CRITICAL THINKING?

NEP 2020 focuses on critical thinking, lays stress on passion, practicality & performance – Honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The word critical comes from the Greek word Kritikos which means to discern or judge, to comprehend. It implies that critical thinking is separating or taking a step back from the problem, comprehend the situation, evaluate the problem and arrive at a decision or solution. 

Critical thinking becomes an essential skill when we face difficult situations, when we take important decisions and when we are bombarded with problems and need to solve them swiftly. 

See, when we receive information or presented with a problem, we think emotional, not objectively, bring in our personal inclination, our emotions, interests, likes dislikes, that have a major impact on our decisions or actions, this is how we are taught to, this how we are wired to think, it is how our nature.

Critical thinking is thinking beyond what you are taught to;

 Beyond our basic nature.

Critical thinking refers to an ability to think clearly, analyze and evaluate information/data logically and make a reasonable conclusion. 

It can be and must be applied to every part of our life as required.

Critical thinking when it comes to the work environment must exist everywhere; it is not confined only to the manager cadre or to the financial or legal department.

FOR EXAMPLE

The team head gives you a task to finalize the vendor for a project; You start researching and narrow down to three vendors and get quotations from them. 

What will be your criteria for finalizing the vendor?

Price – Vendor who quotes the least price.

Quality – Vendor who gives the best quality product or service.

What will be your pick?

If you have selected either one of the answers then you are wrong.

The best thing to do in this scenario is to analyze/ research in-depth, the vendor’s credibility, capacity to handle the project, financial strength, credibility in the market, and also to look into the company’s experience with the vendor. 

The next step is to consider commercial terms like price quality and so on. This ensures the vendor’s longevity in the project. 

So let us see,

Ways this skill will benefit you in the work environment.

Informed decisions: Gathering information/data and having the answer to every problem is not critical thinking. 

It is how you evaluate the information gathered, analyze its source and make calculated decisions. 

Develop your personality: You develop your trait and beliefs, you form 

your own opinion on things without other’s influence

Increases Credibility: Your opinions will be valued, as you don’t blurt out whatever you read, experience, hear or observe. Your views will be trusted and will be more reliable in making important decisions and solving complex problems.

Improve your analytical thinking.

Solve problems competently.

ELEMENTS OF CRITICAL THINKING

Elements that will help you to improve your critical thinking.

OPEN-MINDED

Be open-minded and curious. Ask the right questions Why? Where? How? When? Don’t take anything or everything at its face value.

IDENTIFY

 If you receive information or in a problematic situation, don’t react immediately; identify the source of the information/problem factors/people involved dig deeper to find the solution.

EXPLORE

Research the source of the information you receive, authentic or not; credibility of the person or place you are getting the information from; 

IMPARTIAL

Analyzing something without inclining towards one side could be a person’s argument, or your own emotions or beliefs is vital to make a bias less conclusion.

INTERPRETATION

It is a vital step in critical thinking; after identifying and researching the source, now it is time to interpret the acquired data.

You might have raw data or very little data to work to analyze.

It is crucial to consider relevant data/information then interpret and conclude. 

Categories: SOFT SKILLS

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