Monday, March 15, 2021

Three Steps To Boost Critical Thinking

 “The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.”

Henri Bergson

Leaders know the importance of critical thinking, especially during times of crisis. The pandemic requires that leaders provide thoughtful and informed direction, helping guide their team forward even when the way ahead looks uncertain.

Although you know your team looks to you for leadership, you may be struggling to think clearly during these tumultuous times. Some experts call it a “brain fog,” as your attention becomes limited and you look for threats.

Fortunately, you can emerge from the fog and lead your team well. You can start by following three steps to improve your critical thinking, as outlined by leadership writer and TEDx speaker, Tanveer Naseer.

Plan for thinking time. As your work schedule and location shifted over the past few months, you may have gotten sidetracked. You can get back on track by scheduling time specifically for thinking. Working from home gives you more control over your day, but you also must contend with many more distractions. Naseer encourages leaders to block off thinking time in their calendars. And he advises professionals schedule time for exercise as well, so they are not stationed in front of a laptop all day.

Take a walk for quiet time. Sometimes, all you need to clear your mind is to get outside for a walk. Naseer says getting out of your office for a walk is an important way to boost your critical thinking skills during the pandemic. When you take a walk, you give yourself a quiet space to think and reflect. You also give yourself a change of scenery, which does wonders for your mental health. At the very least, he says it gives you a break from reading the latest news around the coronavirus. See if you can schedule just 10 minutes a day to get some fresh air and walk around your block or office building.

Breathe deeply. There is truth behind the phrase “take a deep breath” when you are upset about something. Naseer says breathing deeply really does make a difference in how you feel and think, both of which can impact your critical thinking skills. He notes that researchers at Northwestern University conducted a series of experiments that demonstrated that inhaling through the nose stimulates brain areas associated with memory processing and decision-making more than inhaling through the mouth. When you inhale through your nose when absorbing new information, you can actually better retain that information.

Critical thinking is necessary to be the best leader for your sales team. While no one knows when the global pandemic will end, you can take steps now to guide your team through the weeks and months ahead. Be sure to give yourself time every day to think. Do not let a busy schedule get in the way of your planned thinking time. It’s also a good idea to step away from your laptop occasionally to take a walk. And always remember to breathe deeply. It can help you reset and retain information.


Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Tanveer Naseer is an internationally acclaimed leadership and TEDx speaker, award-winning leadership writer, and principal and founder of Tanveer Naseer Leadership. 

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