How Mentors Stimulate Thinking and Better Judgment




Social media isn’t the only place where opinions are passed of as fact, wrong or misleading information is convincingly delivered and conclusions are jumped to on the basis of false, shaky or non-existent evidence.


Newspapers, politicians, gossips and well-meaning but ill-informed people have been doing it for ever. The internet and the proliferation and speed of information means it’s never been more important to think critically and exercise good judgment.


In the workplace, lack of critical thinking can lead to:


  • Poor policy and decision-making


  • Business or personal failure


  • Vulnerability to manipulation



It’s no wonder that 5 of the top 10 Skills needed in 2020 are going to be about thinking.

Critical thinking is about systematically processing information, so we understand things better and make better decisions.


How to get Others to Think Critically


Self-awareness– help mentees understand their own thinking process and how tiredness, bias, emotional state and lack of attention reduce efficacy.


Focus– we like to think we can multi-task but we can’t. Neuro scientist have shown that in attempts to multi-task the brain flits to and fro between tasks reducing effectiveness in each. Some have calculated a drop of 10-20 IQ points while trying to multi-task. Help mentees value and practice concentration, reduce distractions and have the discipline to read long-form and listen well.


Evidence– require mentees to distinguish between fact and opinion, credible sources and untrustworthy ones. Help them understand that click-bait is manipulation to sell you something, be it a product, a political view or conspiracy theory; or a ploy to harvest your personal data.


Spot Omissions– cherry picking is common in putting an argument, choosing some facts and leaving out others that do not support the case. Help mentees look for the holes.


Question– not only the reliability and validity of the information and its source but the motivation of people behind it. Who gains from it?


Join me for the webinar this week Critical, Creative and Reflective Thinking where we’ll explore these ideas and lots more. Details and registration here.


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About Ann Rolfe

Ann Rolfe is internationally recognised as Australia's leading specialist in mentoring, and is available for speaking, training and consulting. Here Ann shares her knowledge and allows you to ask your most pressing questions about mentoring.

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