Good critical thinking is important at all times. The application of good critical thinking strategies, however, is most essential in times of crisis. Strong analytic and decision-making skills are required by everyone—from students to leadership during this COVID-19 pandemic.
Examples of critical thinking strategies used by leadership
How are our best leaders are using critical thinking during this COVID-19 pandemic?
- They are calling for calm while focusing fully on problem-solving;
- They are basing decisions on facts and the advice of experts;
- They are anticipating possible consequences of various options;
- They are encouraging fair-mindedness, courage, and unity of effort;
- They are continuously adapting responses to changing condition;
- They are keeping it real by managing expectations;
- They are coordinating and collaborating with other leaders;
- They are demonstrating thoughtful and effective leadership.
Critical thinking strategies for individuals and teams
We can use these same strategies to strengthen ourselves, our families and our co-workers.
Call for a calm and fair-minded approach
Assess the new situation calmly and fairly. Be careful to not view it through the lens of preserving the status quo. Begin by analyzing the problem and thinking what you might need to do to solve it. This will help you get the problem right. Only then, consider your willingness to adapt in order to solve the problem, optimally.
Show your adaptability
Your first reaction to a sudden troubling event will tell you whether you are being adaptable. Adaptable people react well to the unexpected. They get ready for what might occur next. Less adaptable people are more likely to deny that a problem is serious. They want to delay and may say that the problem does not need an immediate response.
To improve your adaptability, remain poised and calm. Open your mind to the possibility that you will need to reverse course or even chart a new course. A poorly designed plan, or one that no longer fits the current situation, only creates stress and frustration.
Practice seeing troubling events as a call for you to think critically.
Show thoughtful leadership
Heads of families and organizational leaders need to set the tone for others.
How your co-workers and subordinates respond is important. It is better for everyone not to dwell on the losses that might have to be experienced. Remain focused, instead, on any opportunities to control risk and manage hardship.
Think about the people in your life who behave in this manner and support their efforts to engage in problem-solving.
Be involved with the problem solving
Participating in decision-making often provides access to additional information.
This can give you a voice in the process. You may have the chance to comment, constructively, on options under consideration. Exercising what control you have, over the situation, will help with the natural anxiousness, that we all feel, in times of uncertainty.
Adaptable and effective leaders, old and young, model being calm and flexible while they resolve difficult and persistent problems. They communicate confidence and competence. They are models for others to emulate.
Everyone can step forward and be this type of leader.
Noreen Facione, PhD—Advancing Thinking Worldwide
Noreen Facione, CEO of Insight Assessment since 2007, has led company expansion to a global provider of critical thinking assessments for the Business, Health Sciences, Education, Legal and Defense sectors. As a decision scientist and psychometrician at the University of California San Francisco, Dr. Facione described how strength in decision-making influenced symptom interpretation, care-seeking behavior and, as a result, earlier cancer detection. Links between reasoning skills and mindset attributes led to the development of assessments targeting the habits of mind needed for strength in critical thinking. Her published books and training materials include: Critical Thinking and Clinical Reasoning in the Health Sciences (The California Academic Press); Thinking and Reasoning in Human Decision Making (The California Academic Press); and the INSIGHT Development Program.
Advancing thinking worldwide
Insight Assessment, in keeping with our motto of advancing thinking worldwide, shares these critical thinking strategies to you, so you can keep yourself, your family, and your neighbors safe during these worrisome times.
Stay safe. Let your critical thinking lead your problem solving and decision-making process.