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Considering how a ‘rational’ person (think Mr Spock from ) might have reacted to the same situation can help you understand how your own emotions or bias affected your actions.Those same emotions can also affect your interpretation of others’ actions.We often spend time with friends, sharing opinions without challenge, and it can be startling when someone actually calls us out on those opinions.
The ability to understand others’ emotions and skilfully negotiate with them is considered a valuable skill to potential employers.
Becoming a critical thinker in highly charged situations needn't be wasted on Twitter flame wars; it’s extremely useful in making a sale to a difficult client, keeping an unhappy customer on board or even convincing your boss to use your idea for a new product line instead of theirs.
If you want to develop your critical thinking, it’s time to be that questioning person.
When someone shares an idea or judgement, don’t just accept it and move on to the next thing.
While intuition can be a valuable skill in the workplace, most employers would prefer you excel in critical thinking and problem solving.
So, what makes someone a critical thinker, exactly?It’s the ability to look at issues objectively and effectively, without letting bias or emotions cloud your judgement.It’s not an easy task, but critical thinking improves your communication with others, helps you solve problems in the best interests of everyone involved, and allows you to see a clearer path to success and advancement in your career.Being a more critical thinker requires us to contemplate the possibility that we may be wrong or are acting in our own self-interest rather than the good of others or of the company we work for.Two prominent authors and instructors in the field of critical thinking development, Richard Paul and Linda Elder, say that feelings of irritation and resentment during the workday can actually be signs of egocentric thinking.Many a TV and movie hero would have you believe that all the best decisions are made with a ‘gut feeling’.Unlike that onscreen police detective whose hunches solve major crimes and get him the key to the city, however, most of us would likely be jobless if we operated this way.Indulge your curiosity and ask some open-ended questions to get more details, and further explore the issue.In the age of social media discourse, which can escalate rapidly from name-calling to harassment to even death threats, a peaceful approach can be daunting.Making an immediate effort to understand the opposing point of view can help keep you from becoming defensive and escalating the disagreement.The compassionate approach won’t necessarily lead to complete harmony, but an open mind allows you to examine all the information and, hopefully, find common ground.