Faced with global competition, pricing pressures and constantly evolving new technology, the leadership decision-making process requires managers to master critical thinking skills.
But, how do you set up a good management decision-making process when you have more than a day job? Innovation expert and author Holly Green provides a great step by step guideline for the management decision-making process. It actually sounds like a lot of fun and the by-product of this leadership decision-making process is employee engagement and buy-in.
Critical Thinking Skills in the Management Decision Making Process
She uses the leadership decision-making process of divergent and convergent thinking, but not at the same time. Divergent critical thinking skills are kind of like silly putty for your brain. You stretch your brain in all sorts of directions without seeking the familiar. For example, look at magazines or stores just to give your brain input from unfamiliar or random images.
Green explains how to use these critical thinking skills in a fun way: “Deliberately create new links between objects, ideas, events, people, or processes. As you link things together that are normally not connected, you begin to see new relationships and possibilities in the creative process.”
She uses the example of a rubber ball. Its qualities include being round, smooth, fun, resilient and they bounce. Now, you can use your leadership decision-making process to see how those qualities relate to innovative ideas around a new product or service.
How could you make your product or service more resilient? How could your product be more fun? What could you do to get customers who have left to bounce back to doing business with you?
The flip side of divergent critical thinking skills is convergent thinking where you group all your ideas around a particular criteria. This starts the management decision-making process of whittling down ideas with the goal of executing on some of them. You can base your management decision-making process on costs, time to execute and risk.
Success with this leadership decision-making process is only ensured with an effective communication strategy and sharing your vision and what’s in it for the team.
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Are you a job candidate looking to land the perfect job? Or an employee aiming to climb the next rung on your career ladder?
Developing your critical thinking skills will make you a better candidate for that new job or that promotion.
The words “critical thinking” frequently pop up in job descriptions and on adjective lists for resume-writing, so it’s clearly a desirable characteristic.
What Is Critical Thinking?
Thinking critically is the ability to analyze a concept objectively, considering the facts and differing perspectives to reach a sound, logical conclusion.
The reason critical thinking is a skill—and not just an automatic thought process—is because most people naturally think “uncritically,” making decisions based on personal biases, self-interest, or irrational emotions. Everyone is vulnerable to this type of simplistic thinking—it’s human nature.
However, there are ways to improve your thought process to be more intentional about thinking critically.
How to Think Critically
Developing your critical thinking skills will help you become a valued member of any team—at work, at school, or anywhere that solid decision-making skills are needed.
Here are some ways to improve your critical thinking skills:
- Know your biases and try to look past them
- Ask questions and gather information
- Evaluate the facts of the situation and all available data
- Collaborate and get feedback from others—especially people with different backgrounds to your own
- Generate possible solutions, particularly out-of-the-box ideas
- Consider the short- and long-term consequences of implementing each solution
Impress Employers With Your Critical Thinking Skills
Employers value workers who know how to think critically. Critical thinkers bring creative solutions to the table and help businesses to innovate and remain competitive.
Critical thinking examples exist in every part of the workplace, from the corporate executive offices to the sales floor. Whether you’re the boss or an intern, knowing how to think critically gives you the power to make positive contributions to the company.
Here are some critical thinking examples in different job positions.
As team leaders, managers are role models for their direct reports. How managers analyze problems influences how their team members will handle issues going forward. Managers that use critical thinking processes foster teams that are intentional about assessing problems and devising solutions.
A business analyst’s job is to evaluate data and make informed decisions regarding a company’s performance. Careful critical thinking can uncover innovative solutions to address issues that come up and to boost business growth in the future.
Human Resources Specialist
Workers in the human resources department are responsible for hiring new talent, determining which employees get pay raises and deciding appropriate consequences for workers who have violated company policy. Each of those situations requires deliberate critical thinking on the part of human resources specialists, who literally have the power to make or break a colleague’s career.
Well-developed critical thinking skills are vital to the marketing team’s ability to create and manage successful marketing campaigns. Marketing associates must be able to gather and analyze demographic information about an organization’s target audience in order to know how to reach customers effectively when promoting the brand.
Sales Agent and Customer Service Representative
Customer service reps and sales agents have the most direct contact with clients. The ability to think critically enables both groups of workers to satisfy customers’ needs. For instance, if a disgruntled customer storms into a store to complain about a faulty product, a critically thinking customer service associate can get to the root of the problem and suggest possible solutions to the client, who can then choose the best option and leave on a positive note.
Written by Jessica L. Mendes.