What's the Importance of Critical Thinking in the Workplace?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 11 October 2021

Employers look for employees who have strong critical thinking skills to contribute to the company's strategic objectives. Employees use critical thinking to solve work challenges and develop strategies to perform their work functions better. As an employee, you can develop your critical thinking skills to progress in your career. In this article, we consider what critical thinking is, the importance of it in the workplace, how to improve your critical thinking skills and show them in your CV.

Related: 9 Essential Critical Thinking Skills and How To Develop Them

The importance of critical thinking

The importance of critical thinking in the workplace is crucial to recognise in order to complete tasks to a high standard, and ensure every team member is on the same page. Below is a list of reasons why critical thinking is such a vital part of a working environment:

It contributes to success

Critical thinking is an essential skill for careers in law, education, research, medicine or finance. Critical thinking skills are necessary for careers where you analyse information objectively to solve problems and develop working solutions. For these roles, it's crucial to develop your critical thinking skills early on to enhance your chances of success.

It improves decision-making

Critical thinking skills can help you make challenging decisions. An example of a tough decision includes deciding on a career change. When faced with these types of decisions, critical thinking forces you to research and think about the consequences logically instead of basing your decision entirely on your emotions.

Increased life satisfaction

Critical thinkers are more satisfied. Critical thinking helps them understand themselves, their goals and emotions better. When you collect information, you can apply the most relevant items to your life to develop yourself and eventually become happier.

It gives critical thinkers an advantage

Currently, people can access large amounts of information. Critical thinkers are excellent at researching the best information to inform them on any topic. As a critical thinker, you have an advantage in work meetings, especially if you're aiming to be a thought-leader in a particular industry.

It supports introspection

Critical thinkers can look at problems from different perspectives. They don't instinctively defend their beliefs. They can typically change their views and opinions after analysing new information.

It improves communication and presentation skills

Critical thinking allows us to think logically to express our views. It helps us break down texts to improve our understanding of them. Understanding something better allows us to talk about it and present it to others more clearly.

It forms the foundation of science

Critical thinking has played a crucial role in the scientific process and technological progress for centuries. Critical thinking helps with the development of scientific theories. To prove a theory, scientists use critical thinking when they collect data and analyse their research results.

It improves relationships

Critical thinking helps develop relationships between team members. Critical thinking skills allow you to understand other people's perspective on a particular issue. It helps you become open-minded with team members who may have different views from yours.

Related: 25 People Skills for the Workplace Including Definition

What is critical thinking?

Critical thinking occurs when a person analyses information to form a judgement. People use critical thinking when they rationally decide how to behave or what to believe in a particular situation. Employees who use critical thinking skills are typically independent, competent and reflective. As a critical thinker, you can logically connect ideas, evaluate and scrutinize arguments to find errors or inconsistencies in your own and others' work. You can solve complex problems and engage in reflective discussions about challenging topics.

Critical thinkers collect information well, but they also know how to use it to draw conclusions about outcomes and deduce essential facts. By doing this, critical thinkers are more adept at solving problems than people who memorise information without processing it critically. Employers value critical thinking, especially in jobs where a strategic focus is vital. Although critical thinking is a soft skill, it's possible to develop your critical thinking skills.

Related: Hard Skills Vs. Soft Skills: Definitions and Examples

How to improve your critical thinking skills

Critical thinking skills are universal. You can apply them to situations in your personal life, but you can also use them in any role you find yourself in. Improving your critical thinking skills can assist you in performing your work functions more efficiently. Follow these steps to improve your critical thinking skills:

1. Assess new information

Critical thinkers only accept information after evaluating it. Critical thinkers aim to find the truth from the information they've collected. Employees with excellent critical thinking skills evaluate information by considering potential problems and solutions.

2. Assess the source of information

Critical thinkers always consider the source of their information. People share information to exchange knowledge and change others' views. Critical thinkers consider this when they assess the source of information. For example, critical thinkers prefer using scientific sources for information instead of relying on team members' views.

3. Think of questions to ask

One method to improve critical thinking skills is to ask questions. When you receive information, you can ask questions to assess the information better. Examples of questions displaying critical thinking skills include:

  • What methods can we use to solve this problem?

  • Who provided this information?

  • Why was this information given to me?

  • Are there other perspectives on this topic? If so, what are they?

  • What research have others done on the topic?

4. Do your own research

Doing your own research is essential for critical thinking. Critical thinkers complete their research before forming an opinion. Use your research to answer any questions you might have. If you aren't well-versed in a particular topic that you need to think critically on, use the internet to help you. Ensure you use reputable sources for information, including news aggregation sites and websites from non-profit or educational organisations. You can also use resources like encyclopedias or academic journals, which you can access at a library.

5. Develop your own opinion

Once your research has answered your questions, you're ready to develop your own opinion on the topic. When you follow a structured critical thinking process, you ensure you base your view on logical and factual information. Having followed a logical process to form your view allows you to defend your view when needed.

Related: What Is Inductive Reasoning and When To Use It

Examples of critical thinking skills to include on a CV

Employers appreciate employees who use critical thinking skills, as they tend to be creative problem-solvers and can help the company innovate more efficiently than its competition. Regardless of your role in a company, critical thinking can help you contribute to the company's objectives. You can include details of your critical thinking skills in your CV's skills section. Here are suggestions for how to do this:

Observation skills

Observation skills are essential for critical thinking as people often receive information through observation. When an employee observes a team member completing a work-related task, they can use what they observed in their evaluation process. For example, if you're given a new task to perform at work, you may observe a colleague performing the job before you decide on your approach to the task. You can include details of how you used your observation skills to perform work tasks in your CV.

Analytical skills

Analysis occurs when you perform a detailed review of information before making conclusions based on the information. For example, when you perform research on a specific topic, you may analyse information about the benefits and drawbacks of a solution before deciding on its feasibility. You can include examples of how you used your analytical skills for decision-making in your CV.

Communication

Communication is a vital component of critical thinking. It's crucial to communicate your ideas or strategies to help you perform your job functions better. For example, you have an idea for improving your team's process for handling a claim. You need excellent communication skills to convince your manager and team members to try your idea and find out if it affects the team's processing. You can include examples of how you used communication as part of your critical thinking skills in your CV.

Problem-solving

When faced with a challenge, critical thinkers may develop several solutions to achieve the desired outcome. You can include details of how you used your problem-solving skills to solve a work challenge in your CV. This shows how you can contribute to a company with your problem-solving skills.