Developing Your Team’s Critical Thinking Capabilities

Developing Your Team’s Critical Thinking Capabilities

In this blog post, we will look at characteristics that will help your team improve their critical thinking capabilities. We will be looking at the following four characteristics:

  • Seeing the big picture
  • Objectivity
  • Using emotions
  • Being self-aware

Related: Creative Thinking Outcome Based Team Building Activities

Seeing the Big Picture

One of the main functions of thinking is to make connections. The team’s  ideas gain significance when they can relate or connect them to other ideas. They will start to gain insight when we see the similarities between ideas. The way they structure their ideas can be based on how they connect in one of two ways: causal or conceptual relationships. Since many problems arise due to causal changes, we will focus on this aspect. Steps in discovering causal relations include:

  • Laying out the account
  • Determining a hierarchy
  • Interpreting convergences and divergences
    • Convergences are ideas/things that reinforce, supplement, or complement events
    • Divergences are points that do not reinforce events


Objectivity is defined as “intentness on objects external to the mind.” In critical thinking, you want your team to have a keen sense of objectivity. This is a heuristic or a rule / strategy for problem solving. Objectivity helps your team to engage more thoughtfully and deliberately in the critical thinking process. However, the team members should not completely exclude their emotions or subjective feelings in the decision making or problem solving process. The most important thing to remember is that evaluating information objectively helps the team to be more deliberate or thorough.

Using Their Emotions

As mentioned in the previous section, emotions should not be ignored altogether when thinking critically. Emotions play a crucial role in the thinking process. For instance, professionals need empathy when working with others, regardless of their occupation in order to vicariously experience what others feel, believe, or wish. The issue with emotions and decision making is to not allow emotions to cloud the team’s judgment.

Being Self-Aware

Self-awareness is yet another characteristic of the critical thinking. This characteristic relates to the team acutely being aware of their feelings, opinions, and assumptions. Moreover, it is a starting point for thinking critically. Our assumptions are how the first impressions and strongest emotions are filtered when we evaluate information.


There are many benefits in having your team develop their critical thinking skills. If you want your team to develop their critical thinking abilities, they must develop the ability to see the big picture when they need to make decisions. Encourage them to make connections between ideas so that they can gain insight when they see the similarities between ideas. A keen sense of objectivity is also vital in critical thinking. Although emotions can cloud your team’s judgement they should not be ignored altogether. Finally, your team needs to be aware of their feelings, opinions, and assumptions, as being self-aware is the starting point for critical thinking.



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