Critical Thinking & Problem-Solving At Work

Most employers do not want workers who are only going to do what they are told. They want to work with people who are flexible, willing to go “above and beyond” their job, and can think on their feet.

This is call critical thinking or problem-solving skills. These complex thinking skills are often listed as one of the Employability Skills that all job candidates need to get hired and move up in their careers.

What Are Critical-Thinking Skills?

Critical thinking is when you are able to take in information and use it to make a reasonable decision.

You probably use critical-thinking skills all the time and don’t realize it. Think about how many problems you solve with your family or in your personal life. When you have no money for gas and its three days before payday, you are using problem-solving skills and creativity to figure out how to get to work the rest of the week.

5 Types of Critical-Thinking Skills

1. Analytical: The ability to examine information, data, words or a situation and understand what it means. People with strong analytical skills seek to get more information, recognize patterns and differences, and are often skeptical and questioning.

2. Communication: The ability to have conversations, speak to teams and/or write documents at work so that others understand your thoughts and actions. Your best ideas are useless if you cannot effectively communicate them to others.

3. Creativity: Do you often think of solutions that others have not thought of? Are you able to look at a situation from a different angle than other people? The able to see things differently than others is a strength.

4. Open-Minded: To be “objective” is to think about people, situations and ideas without judgement or making assumptions. Making decisions and thinking things through by including different viewpoints is important to critical thinking.

5. Problem Solving: Ability to analyze a problem, think about rules or policies, pay attention to detail, ask questions and come up with realistic solutions.

Any of these critical-thinking skills can be gained by attending college courses, or professional development trainings. There are a lot of other ways to formally and informally gain critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.



Adapted from: Critical Thinking Definition, Skills, and Examples (The Balance Careers)