Critical thinking is more than using logic or problem solving. The critical thinking tests many hiring managers use for selection and development measure how well an individual recognizes assumptions, evaluates arguments, and draws conclusions.
Recognizing assumptions includes reading between the lines, defining/redefining issues and exploring different points of view. Evaluating arguments is the ability to evaluate arguments based on the strength of the evidence supporting them, as well as the ability to analyze them without allowing personal bias or emotions to influence the analysis. Drawing conclusions is gathering, weighing, and assimilating information to form a sound conclusion.
Logic tells us an individual’s ability to draw the right conclusions may depend on their ability to recognize assumptions and evaluate arguments effectively. Both of those components rely on the ability for an individual to step away from their own train of thought or to develop the ability to look at things from other perspectives.
Improving critical thinking skills allows direct reports to perform individually or as a team better. Leaders should empower the success of their direct reports by encouraging development of critical thinking skills.