Critical thinking example

5 Critical Thinking Examples In The Workplace To Become A Better Manager

Have you ever played action-adventure video games like GTA or Tomb Raider? If you have, then you’ve already been practicing critical thinking skills! Every time you play one of these games, you get a mission and have to figure out the best way to complete it. Then, you evaluate the information and make decisions accordingly. This is exactly what critical thinking is- taking in information and making decisions based on that information. So next time you’re playing a video game, remember that you’re actually practicing a valuable skill!

Everybody has to think critically at some point, especially when making decisions. As a manager, it’s essential to have strong critical thinking skills to succeed. Critical thinking involves identification, evaluation, analysis, problem-solving, and decision-making. In other words, it’s all about using your brain power to figure things out. And as a manager, you’ll need to do this daily.

Whether dealing with a demanding customer or trying to develop a new marketing campaign, thinking critically will help you find the best solution possible. So, read this blog till the end, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a more critical thinker – and a great manager!

Let us start!

What is Critical Thinking?

The basic definition of critical thinking is the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue to form a judgment. It is about being actively involved in understanding and solving the problem. This means using your reasoning skills and questioning ideas and assumptions rather than simply accepting them at face value. As a critical thinker, you must be ready to look at all aspects of an issue and be open to the possibility that your initial assumptions may be wrong.

Leaders and managers who want to enhance their organizations can benefit from developing their critical thinking skills. Critical thinking allows leaders to analyze the potential outcomes of their decisions, considering both positive and negative consequences. This analytical approach helps leaders rise above the noise of assumptions and biases that can interfere with sound decision-making. Leadership coaching is an effective way to develop critical thinking skills. Coaches can provide guidance and exercises that help leaders learn how to identify and question assumptions, generate and evaluate options, and reach well-reasoned conclusions. 

Importance of critical thinking for leaders

Critical thinking is crucial to career development and success in different industries and positions. For example, in management, where decision-making is associated with the daily functioning of an organization, critical thinking plays a crucial role. With good critical thinking skills, managers can solve complex problems independently and collaboratively, always striving for innovative solutions. In addition, improved critical thinking skills can establish oneself as an adept member of the organization and enhance the quality of life. In today’s dynamic work environment, where situations are often uncertain and ambiguous, critical thinking skills can make a difference between success and failure, both professionally and personally.

Understanding different critical thinking skills with examples

Critical thinking involves analyzing and evaluating information to make informed decisions or judgments. Here are some examples of critical thinking skills:

  1. Analysis: The ability to examine information by breaking it down into parts and understanding the relationships between them, for example, analyzing a complex legal case by breaking it down into relevant legal concepts and examining how they apply to the case’s specific circumstances.
  2. Evaluation: The ability to assess the credibility and relevance of information. For example, evaluating the quality of research by examining the methodology, data collection, and conclusions drawn to determine whether the study provides reliable and valid information.
  3. Inference: The ability to draw logical conclusions based on evidence. For example, inferring that a person is lying based on inconsistencies in their story and other evidence such as body language.
  4. Problem-solving: The ability to identify and solve problems using logical reasoning and, for example, developing a plan to reduce the carbon footprint of a manufacturing process by identifying the most significant sources of carbon emissions and developing strategies to reduce them.
  5. Decision-making: The ability to make well-informed and thoughtful decisions. For example, deciding which candidate to hire by evaluating their qualifications, experience, and fit with the company culture. This requires weighing the evidence and making a thoughtful decision based on the available information.
  6. Creativity: The ability to generate new and innovative ideas. For example, coming up with a new product idea that meets an unmet need in the market.
  7. Communication: The ability to express ideas clearly and effectively. For example, presenting a persuasive argument supporting a particular policy proposal.
These are the primary skills to develop and refine to become an effective manager who can make better judgments and support the organization.

Critical thinking example

5 Critical thinking examples in the workplace

Critical thinking is a valuable skill in the workplace and can be used in many different contexts. Here’s an example of using critical thinking in a workplace setting:

1. Allocating Resources

Situation: As a manager, you have a limited budget and must decide how to allocate resources among different projects in your department. Each project has its merits and potential impact on the organization.

Critical Thinking Approach: You gather information about each project’s goals, estimated costs, and potential returns. You evaluate the alignment of each project with the company’s strategic objectives. You consider the risks, resource requirements, and timelines for each project. Finally, you make a well-informed decision based on a balanced analysis of data and potential outcomes.

Check out One stop Guide for Collaborative Decision Making at the workplace

2. Dealing with Employee Conflict

Situation: Two of your team members frequently clash, causing tension within the team and affecting productivity. You need to address the issue and find a resolution.

Critical Thinking Approach: You don’t jump to conclusions or take sides immediately. Instead, you gather information by talking individually to both employees to understand their perspectives and concerns. You analyze the root causes of the conflict, considering personality differences, work styles, and project assignments. You then work with the employees to find common ground and implement strategies to improve collaboration.

3. Implementing New Technology

Situation: Your company is considering adopting a new technology solution to improve productivity and streamline processes. However, there are concerns about the cost, learning curve, and potential disruptions during implementation.

Critical Thinking Approach: You thoroughly research the technology, considering its features, benefits, and potential challenges. You analyze how it aligns with your team’s needs and assess whether the ROI justifies the investment. You also consult with IT experts and other departments that have already implemented the technology to gather insights. Based on this critical evaluation, you make an informed decision on whether to proceed with the adoption.

4. Handling a Crisis

Situation: A major production issue arises unexpectedly, affecting the delivery of a critical project. As a manager, you must respond promptly to minimize the impact and find a solution.

Critical Thinking Approach: You assess the severity of the crisis and its potential consequences. You identify the root cause of the issue and gather a cross-functional team to brainstorm potential solutions. You encourage open communication and creative thinking to find alternative approaches. You evaluate each solution’s feasibility and its short-term and long-term effects. Finally, you implement the most viable solution with a clear plan to prevent similar issues in the future.

5. Performance Evaluation and Promotion

Situation: It’s time for employee performance evaluations, and you need to decide who to promote to a leadership role within your team.

Critical Thinking Approach: You don’t rely solely on past performance metrics but evaluate each employee’s skills, potential, and willingness to take on leadership responsibilities. You consider their ability to work collaboratively, mentor others, and adapt to new challenges. You also solicit feedback from colleagues and other managers to understand each employee’s abilities comprehensively. Based on this critical evaluation, you make a fair and well-justified decision on the promotion.

Using critical thinking in these real-life situations allows you to make more informed, effective, and fair decisions as a manager, leading to better outcomes for your team and the organization.

How to Improve Critical Thinking Skills?

Critical thinking is essential for professional growth and is one of the most desirable and valuable skills. Critical thinkers are adept at understanding, determining relevance, recognizing inconsistencies, approaching problems systematically, and reflecting on their judgments. Building this skill helps in solving complex problems and navigating new roles.

Adopting a disposition of curiosity, open-mindedness, and goal-oriented internalization is vital to improving your critical thinking skills. Form a habit of asking questions, formulating clear and concise questions, and seeking multiple perspectives before concluding. Continuously evaluate your thoughts and beliefs to test them against potential weaknesses and inconsistencies. Also, using a managerial coaching platform like Risely can help you boost your critical-thinking abilities. Sign up to Risely and become a better manager today!


Critical thinking is an invaluable skill set for any manager worth their salt. By learning to think critically, managers can develop better solutions, make more informed decisions, and improve their team’s performance. However, it’s important to remember that these skills take time to learn. Developing an analytical mindset, seeking multiple perspectives, and engaging in open-minded discussion takes time and practice. But if you’re willing to work, you can hone your critical thinking skills and become a better manager overall.

How strong are your critical thinking skills?

Test your critical thinking skills in just a few minutes with Risely’s free assessment for managers.


How do you show critical thinking?

Critical thinking is demonstrated by questioning assumptions, analyzing information objectively, considering multiple perspectives, identifying biases and fallacies, and reaching well-reasoned conclusions. It involves using logic, evidence, and sound reasoning to evaluate ideas and arguments and being open to changing one’s beliefs based on new evidence or insights.

Where can we apply critical thinking?

Critical thinking can be applied in various areas, such as problem-solving, decision-making, project planning and management, risk assessment, data analysis, and communication with colleagues and clients. It is also valuable in identifying and addressing potential issues or challenges, evaluating alternative solutions, and making informed and effective decisions that benefit the organization.

What is critical thinking’s role in the workplace?

Critical thinking is vital in the workplace by enabling employees to make informed and effective decisions, solve complex problems, and communicate ideas and solutions clearly and persuasively. It also helps employees to identify and evaluate potential risks and opportunities, analyze data and information, and think creatively and innovatively.

What are the benefits of critical thinking?

The benefits of critical thinking include improved decision-making, problem-solving, creativity, innovation, communication, and collaboration. It also enables individuals to identify and evaluate potential biases and fallacies in arguments, approach situations with an open mind, and adapt to change and uncertainty.

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