Critical thinking styles

One of the key elements of your role as a leader, is to think critically about the situation around you and ahead of you in the organisation, and make any adjustments you can to maximise your team’s performance whatever the environment.


Critical thinking is the ability to analyse a situation to get the best outcome, making reasoned decisions which are logical and well thought-out. It’s about how to follow your instinct confidently.
To be a great critical thinker, it’s not just about analysing situations. There are 5 distinct thinking styles which you need to employ as you look to take advantage of any situation. Those styles, in chronological order, are:

•    Reflective: Understanding what’s happened in the past to bring you to where you are today.
•    Strategic: Setting a long-term goal of where you’d like to be, with a high-level idea of how to get there.
•    Creative: Developing creative, innovative ideas to achieve the strategy through your team.
•    Tactical: Forming a clear plan of how to implement your creative ideas.
•    Implicative: Analysing the positive and negative implications of your plan before taking any actions to avoid any unintended consequences.

Many people have a preference for one style over the other, but all are important as a leader. Each style has advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to get comfortable with all styles, and to employ them at the right time.


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