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Critical thinking is the missing link between highly successful and effective people and those who are not. It is a fact that employees perceive that soft skills such as critical thinking are equally important if not more important than acquiring technical skills. Furthermore 58% of managers in a LinkedIn study said the lack of critical thinking in job candidates is limiting their company’s productivity. The ability to evaluate facts, trends, and situations is vital in today’s information age. Organizations are finding critical thinking to be one of the key competencies of highly successful people.

So what is critical thinking? Critical thinking involves taking deep reflection, clearly seeing information and processing it, creating a plan of action and acting on the action. It involves improving your reasoning capacity and striving to think deeply about situations and circumstances. As a critical thinker you must strive to understand and overcome your potential biases, blind spots and filters about situations.

Key Abilities Of A Critical Thinker

There are six key abilities of a critical thinker and they include intuitive thinking, practical thinking, system and conceptual thinking, personal strength, execution ability and objective ability.

Intuitive thinking is the ability to see the uniqueness in persons and situations. It is otherwise known as the gut instinct.

The practical thinking is the ability to understand and see, compare the functional worth of things and the short term situations and events. A practical thinker considers ways to adapt to your environment or changing your environment to fit you so that you can pursue your goal.

Systems and conceptual thinking is the ability to understand and appreciate the need for order, structure, standards and big picture thinking. A conceptual thinker integrates issues and factors into conceptual framework that enables him succeed in life.

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Personal strength thinking is the capacity and commitment to personal standards, ownership of problems and self-awareness in an effort to effectively negotiate relationships and situations. Here one takes charge of his personal growth, decisions and lifestyle.

Execution ability is the capacity to achieve set goals, goal directedness, ability to focus and determination to create strategic plans and expectation. It involves the ability to achieve individual goals and trust me when I say employees look out for your execution ability.

Objective ability is the ability to be positive, open and dynamic, determine to be relevant, solve problems and make objective decisions while considering all aspects of a situation. When you are an objective thinker you see the situations of things in a reasonable man’s lens.

However, having all the 6 key abilities is what makes a critical thinker whole. A holistic approach to all the six key abilities is what makes you a critical thinker.

In conclusion, although a person’s critical thinking characteristics is not the end all, but the start. It is the cornerstone to succeeding as a student and in your career.

Author: Maurice Nwadike